Leidos to Acquire Cobham Aviation Services Australia’s Special Mission Business

Leidos has entered into a definitive agreement with Cobham Limited to acquire Cobham Aviation Services Australia’s Special Mission business. The Special Mission business provides airborne border surveillance and search and rescue services to the Australian Federal Government. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

“Cobham’s Special Mission team conducts essential operations that protect Australia’s borders, support law enforcement and environmental protection and save lives,” said Roger Krone, Leidos chairman and CEO. “The integration of Special Mission into Leidos Australia will expand the scope of our global airborne ISR capabilities, diversify revenues, and open up new growth avenues.”

“I have the greatest respect and admiration for Cobham’s Special Mission team and their performance in service to the Government,” said Paul Chase, Leidos Australia chief executive. “The addition of the Special Mission business will bring new, expansive services to our offerings across Australia. I look forward to working with this exceptional team.”

“This is a perfect match,” said Kim Gillis, Cobham Aviation Services chairman. “Leidos has remarkably complementary operations to Cobham Special Mission in airborne ISR, as well as deep platform integration expertise, and both organisations uphold exceptional track records of delivering mission critical services to government and defence customers.”

“I’d like to recognize and thank all of the Special Mission team for their continued dedication and commitment to delivering operational outcomes for our customers,” added James Woodhams, managing director of Special Mission. “I’m really excited about what the future holds for the team as part of Leidos.”

Cobham Special Mission owns and operates 14 modified aircraft to deliver critical services across Australia, including:

  • Conducting one of the world’s largest outsourced civil maritime surveillance operations under contract with the Australian Border Force, patrolling Australia’s 8.2 million square kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone;
  • Providing fixed wing search-and-rescue response capability over land and sea on behalf of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA); and
  • Operating a highly specialised mission aircrew training system for more than 30 mission aircrew per year.

Slovenia Control Enhances Area and Terminal Control Performance with Frequentis Software

Slovenia Control, the Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) for Slovenia, has selected Frequentis to upgrade the software of its Safety Nets for area and terminal control to provide enhanced performance, safety and alerting functionalities. The Safety Nets system, known as PRISMA-SNET, is an essential module of Frequentis Comsoft’s PRISMA Air Traffic Management (ATM) automation suite. 

Using both flight plan data and current position data, PRISMA-SNET provides air traffic controllers clear alerts of potential safety issues in time to take preventive action and is fully integrated into Slovenia Control’s ATM environment. The Safety Nets system also helps ensure safe takeoffs, transits and landings and detects deviations from planned course and altitude, depending on the flight data processing system (FDPS). 

In 2005, Slovenia Control became the second customer to use the PRISMA-SNET, operational at their air control centre (ACC) at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport. The latest upgrade, contracted in December 2021, will meet all the specific requirements of Slovenia Control, providing best performance and functionality.

“Slovenia Control’s fundamental guiding principle is to attain, maintain and constantly raise our safety levels and targets. For many years now, Frequentis Comsoft has been a reliable partner for achieving these goals. We look forward to working together on future projects” says Slobodan Opačič, Head of the Development Department at Slovenia Control.

PRISMA-SNET is ready to fulfill future EUROCONTROL specifications for Safety Nets including multi-hypothesis tracking (MHT) algorithms that can eliminate false alerts – a unique feature in the market. It is proven in several Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) projects, thus supporting efforts to introduce UTM in Slovenia.

“We are pleased with the upgrade of Safety Nets for Slovenia Control and are happy to be long-term partners. PRISMA-SNET is a vital component of the ATM system enabling Slovenia Control to identify potentially dangerous situations in time to ensure the safe and smooth flow of air traffic in the Slovenian airspace”, says Constantin von Reden, Managing Director at Frequentis Comsoft. 

PRISMA-SNET provides a common framework that supports functions such as short-term conflict alerting (STCA), minimum safe altitude warning (MSAW), area proximity warning (APW), cleared level adherence monitoring (CLAM) and route adherence monitor (RAM), depending on FDPS input. To learn more about this solution and other components of the PRISMA family.

Panasonic Avionics Partnering with Adobe to “Transform IFEC”

Panasonic Avionics Partnering with Adobe to “Transform IFEC”

Panasonic Avionics has joined forces with Adobe to advance the next generation of In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) through enhanced content delivery, data collection and activation, journey orchestration and experience intelligence services.

Enterprise software creator Adobe and Panasonic Avionics say they will bring together their respective capabilities to drive airline loyalty (NPS), ancillary revenue, and operational efficiencies.

Panasonic Avionics will integrate Adobe Experience Cloud’s content delivery, data, journey orchestration and experience intelligence capabilities into its onboard IFEC systems to ease the distribution of content for in-flight services while generating and activating on data from passengers’ real-time onboard services, transactions, and in-trip experiences.

Airlines will gain behavioral insights from customers’ IFEC interactions to accelerate service and enhance loyalty while connecting the in-flight experience throughout each passenger’s journey.

Personalization and targeted services have long defined the value of web and mobile experiences and have been hailed as the next frontier in IFEC to accelerate the customer experience. Panasonic Avionics and Adobe say they share the vision that airlines can drive more value out of IFEC by using data driven services to drive new revenue opportunities and increase airline NPS through service recovery.

The companies say their new partnership will transform the process by offering pre-integrated functionality, using new and existing airline web and mobile assets, that can be deployed quickly and securely into IFEC services. Airlines will benefit from data updates in real time and, by utilizing AI-driven insights, can deliver and activate the right passenger experience across every channel.

“The cabin experience offers enormous untapped potential to deliver new value to airlines and their passengers through IFEC,” said Andrew Mohr, vice president, digital solutions at Panasonic Avionics said. “We are delighted to provide this latest evolution in the digital onboard experience. Pre-integrating Adobe’s services will provide valuable and insightful data to airlines so they can further improve the in-flight experience for their customers.”

Julie Hoffmann, global head of industry strategy for travel at Adobe added, “At Adobe, we help travel brands to personalize and scale digital experiences. Working with Panasonic Avionics, Adobe Experience Cloud transforms all airline passenger data to create actionable customer profiles, whilst ensuring privacy is respected and data is securely stored. Together with Panasonic Avionics, we are unlocking the value of data for airline teams, accelerating personalized experiences and services in-flight, that passengers now expect.”

The capability will include Panasonic Avionics’ recently introduced modular interactive capability, which will enable the ability to leverage existing airline digital assets and workflows and harmonize digital initiatives across all airline channels — web, mobile and IFEC.

THE UNRELENTING HUNGER FOR CONNECTIVITY SPURS GROWTH

THE UNRELENTING HUNGER FOR CONNECTIVITY SPURS GROWTH

The ever-growing demand for passenger connectivity is also driving developments that can be linked to make the aircraft a flying hub. Ian Harbison looks at some recent developments.

Airbus

By 2027, Airbus expects almost 30,000 aircraft to be equipped for In Flight Connectivity (IFC). It has been working for a number of years to develop a roadmap, with teams defining, developing and demonstrating the connected in-cabin technologies that will be needed. This started in 2018 with a ‘Connected Cabin Experience’ mockup that was exhibited at trade shows, backed up by demonstrations of real technologies on the company’s dedicated A350 Airspace Explorer Flight-Lab test aircraft. It has also produced ‘Vision 2030’, which focuses on the digital future of the cabin experience, and has presented this at various customer workshops to show airlines a glimpse of what they can expect in the future.

The Iris system uses satellites to relay data digitally from the cockpit to the ground, increasing communication capacity and coverage including remote and oceanic areas. Using Iris, flight plans can be continually updated during the flight to maintain an optimal trajectory towards the destination, minimizing the fuel burned and the carbon dioxide emitted. ESA image.
The Iris system uses satellites to relay data digitally from the cockpit to the ground, increasing communication capacity and coverage including remote and oceanic areas. Using Iris, flight plans can be continually updated during the flight to maintain an optimal trajectory towards the destination, minimizing the fuel burned and the carbon dioxide emitted. ESA image.

At this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo, Airbus launched Airspace Link HBCplus, the first elements of a real open connected ecosystem.

The first element is the intelligent Core Management Platform (iCMP), which will be available in 2026 on A320 Family aircraft, replacing the current Head end Server Unit (HeSU) FROM Kid Systeme. This will use fibre-optic technology and provides the infrastructure for a digital smart platform enabling data access and management, content hosting (including IFE) and cabin management controls.

Next are the Internet of Things (IoT) services, which will connect the different elements within the cabin, such as overhead bins, galleys, seats and life vests, collecting data that can be combined with different data sources (such as CRM systems, ground operations and suppliers) as input for big-data analysis for the optimisation of ancillary revenues, passenger experience and operational efficiency.

Several components have been tested on the Airspace Explorer Flight-Lab aircraft since 2019, including OLED welcome panels, a digital galley, connected seats (from Stelia in business class, from Recaro in economy class), as well as elements of a connected cargo system.

The Airspace Link App Store is a marketplace for airline customers, with apps being offered from developing partners, airline internal developers and Airbus Services. The first product is the Airspace Link ‘Wireless IFE’ app. developed in partnership by Bluebox, Inflight Dublin and Display Interactive. The launch customer was Titan Airways in 2019 and will be joined this year by Jetstar Airways for its new A321neos, and Condor for its A330neos.

The final element is connectivity and Airbus is looking at satcom and air-to-ground (ATG) solutions. It has already selected Inmarsat Aviation, with its GX Aviation inflight broadband solution, as the first managed services provider (MSP), with more joining soon, while Safran Passenger Innovations (SPI) is the terminal provider and integrator of the low drag ThinKom antenna. Entry into service of the Ka-band satcom solution is planned for 2024, with Ku-band planned to be introduced at a later stage.

The ATG part will probably take longer, even though it offers efficient broadband connectivity without the latency of satcoms. Although the European Aviation Network has been in operation from some years, take up has been slow, with British Airways, Iberia and Aegean Airlines being the only users. However, China may be the place where it makes an impact, as Airbus has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China Mobile (Shanghai) Industrial Research Institute, a subsidiary of China Mobile, to cooperate on industrialization and pilot phase flight route trials for the application of 5G ATG connectivity, covering new service solutions in connected cabin, cabin experience and digitalization.

Initiated and driven by the Airbus China Innovation Centre, the work has now been taken over by Airbus Services. One technical challenge is potential interference risks in C-band with the radio altimeter. After certification, the system operation and business value will be evaluated over Chinese flight routes. The companies will jointly explore business models for airline customers. Airbus has also signed an MoU with China Southern, to jointly define evaluate pilot case system embodiment.

Airbus says its Airspace Link HBCplus system provides satcom based, off-board connectivity for the Airspace Link open ecosystem, an end-to-end Airbus offer. It can provide the exchange of data as one seamlessly integrated aircraft system and is positioned to unlock future digital services capacity, the company says. Airbus image.
Airbus says its Airspace Link HBCplus system provides satcom based, off-board connectivity for the Airspace Link open ecosystem, an end-to-end Airbus offer. It can provide the exchange of data as one seamlessly integrated aircraft system and is positioned to unlock future digital services capacity, the company says. Airbus image.

Airspace Link HBCplus will be offered as a Supplier Furnished Equipment line-fit catalogue option and also for retrofit on all Airbus programs.

Intelsat

Also at AIX, Intelsat announced the launch of a new IFC solution for use by airline customers, which features an Electronically Scanned Array (ESA) antenna. This will allow aircraft to communicate with all types of satellite: Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO), Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) and Low-Earth Orbit (LEO).

Intelsat’s new Electronically Steered Antenna (ESA), 3-D printed model, shown above, enables flexible access to GEO and LEO satellites, enabling new connected experiences in a lean package, the company says. It interoperates with its established geostationary satellites (GEO), as well as Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites from other providers. Intelsat image.
Intelsat’s new Electronically Steered Antenna (ESA), 3-D printed model, shown above, enables flexible access to GEO and LEO satellites, enabling new connected experiences in a lean package, the company says. It interoperates with its established geostationary satellites (GEO), as well as Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites from other providers. Intelsat image.

GEO satellites, such as Intelsat’s constellation of Epic satellites as well as the new generation of Software Defined Satellites (SDS) provide higher capacity, redundancy, and coverage, which is important at crowded airline hubs as well busy oceanic corridors. LEO satellites deliver improved performance with some cloud-based productivity applications, quicker browsing and interactive experiences on a global basis. They also provide coverage in Polar regions, adding hours of additional connectivity to intercontinental polar flights.

The new terminal fits a variety of aircraft and mission profiles ranging from the smallest commercial aircraft to international widebody aircraft. Standing just 3.5in high on the fuselage, it reduces drag, fuel burn and carbon emissions. The antenna combines mature ESA technology from Ball Aerospace, with a modular design from design and integration partner Stellar Blu Solutions, that will offer simplified maintenance, access and improved reliability.

Intelsat anticipates a first installation on a CRJ-700 in late 2022, with production installations to occur roughly a year later.

Confirming the Airbus view that connectivity will grow, Intelsat has had a couple of major successes recently. The latest in June, will see its 2Ku satellite connectivity solution being installed on the Airbus production line in Hamburg, Germany, on 30 Airbus A321XLR aircraft of Air Canada. The airline will retrofit the same solution to 15 A321ceos, beginning in early 2023.

In March, it was selected by Alaska Airlines, to provide 2Ku inflight connectivity on 105 of the company’s new fleet of Boeing 737MAX aircraft. The system is already in operation on 105 other aircraft.

Inmarsat

In another application of connectivity, but with a more serious intent, June saw easyJet become the first airline partner of the Iris program by Inmarsat and the European Space Agency (ESA), which utilizes the latest generation of satellite technology to modernize air traffic management (ATM).

The program enables real-time collaboration between pilots, air traffic controllers and airline operation centers using secure, high-bandwidth data links to minimize delays, save fuel and reduce environmental impact for airlines, while also improving airspace usage to ease congestion and accommodate future growth.

Powered by Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) connectivity platform, Iris enables new ATM functionalities such as trajectory-based operations that pinpoint aircraft in four dimensions (latitude, longitude, altitude and time), which will allow the airline to avoid holding patterns, calculate the shortest available routes and optimum altitudes, and benefit from continuous climb and descent pathways. The additional datalink capacity provided by SB-S will also power onboard digital applications such as AI flight profile optimizers and real-time weather applications.

With the support of leading Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), easyJet will evaluate Iris on up to 11 Airbus A320neos, set to begin flying from November 2022. The aircraft have been fitted with a Light Cockpit Satcom (LCS) solution powered by terminal manufacturer Cobham, which is fully integrated with the Flight Operations & Maintenance Exchanger (FOMAX) developed by Collins and Airbus.

Engineers are shown above in 2018 testing Iris equipment designed to exchange messages in real-time with a flight control facility.The program was developed under a public-private partnership between ESA and Inmarsat and was designed to help relieve pressure on the aviation sector’s congested radio frequency communication channels. The goal is to provide a secure, text-based data link between pilots and air traffic control (ATC) networks using satellite technology. It is part of the European Commission’s Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) masterplan to modernize Europe’s air traffic management.  ESA Image.
Engineers are shown above in 2018 testing Iris equipment designed to exchange messages in real-time with a flight control facility.The program was developed under a public-private partnership between ESA and Inmarsat and was designed to help relieve pressure on the aviation sector’s congested radio frequency communication channels. The goal is to provide a secure, text-based data link between pilots and air traffic control (ATC) networks using satellite technology. It is part of the European Commission’s Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) masterplan to modernize Europe’s air traffic management.
ESA Image.

Iris will enter commercial and operational service fully in Europe next year, supporting the Single European Sky’s ATM Research (SESAR) masterplan. It will be the first communication service to benefit from a Pan-European certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Eurowings Discover Partnering with AERQ for Digitalization in the Cabin

Eurowings Discover and AERQ announced a partnership to overcome current limitations in inflight entertainment and connectivity. Eurowings Discover is a new leisure carrier of Lufthansa Group with a fleet of A320 and A330 aircraft. AERQ’s open IT platform AERENA boosts digital cabin innovations throughout the travel journey and will facilitate greater passenger engagement onboard the aircraft.

By installing the fully-fledged AERENA inseat system on initially one A320 in 2023, the test aircraft will be used to roll out a game-changing digital experience on board, supported by a state-of-the-art cloud-based infrastructure. The seat-centric inseat system provides passengers with an upscale inflight entertainment experience building on latest technologies. A touchpoint of AERENA that inspires interaction and drives engagement, also through a PED (Personal Electronic Device) friendly environment.

“We are looking forward to this partnership with AERQ, as we believe in the great benefit of AERENA to our guests. By smart data capturing, analytics, and matching, we can learn about the passengers’ entertainment demands and address them specifically. Continuous development of onboard entertainment is at the core of our product strategy”, said Maximilian Meintgens, director Product & Marketing at Eurowings Discover. “Passengers want their flights to be as comfortable and entertaining as possible. This is especially true on our medium-haul flights where passengers are less likely to want to view content on smaller personal device screens, deal with power issues, and juggle seat real estate for where to place their devices. The partnership between AERQ and Eurowings Discover makes the time onboard more valuable for passengers.”

“Eurowings Discover profits from AERENA’s agility that allows rapid updates of all content, whether it is AVoD, the graphical user interface (GUI) or any application to move the experience and engagement to a new level. With AERENA Eurowings Discover can customise its on-board product and truly differentiate from competitors”, explained Son Yob (Louis) Pak, co-managing director at AERQ. “The carrier can personalise the passenger’s encounter. For instance, if you prefer to watch action movies, you can see the related content on your screen. This way airlines will be more than a means of transport, but will bring meaning, joy and value to journeys across their fleets.”

“AERENA not only ensures that an airline gets to know its passengers better. The platform also opens new revenue opportunities for Eurowings Discover. With the airlines’ and AERQ’s partner base, data driven selections, mobile device integration and a lot more ancillary revenues such as advertising, gaming, destination content, etc., can be increased substantially”, added Arnd Kikker, co-managing director at AERQ. “AERENA will be the key platform in making the additional revenue in terms of the full travel chain.”

Panasonic Avionics Introduces New Astrova IFE Seat-End Solution

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) is introducing its new in-flight entertainment (IFE) seat-end system, Astrova, by Panasonic Avionics.

“The launch of Astrova, by Panasonic Avionics, reflects a transformation in our business, how we develop our products, and how we engage with our customers,” said Ken Sain, CEO of Panasonic Avionics Corp. “Astrova is the first in-flight entertainment solution to truly recognize the untapped potential of seatback IFE and provides airlines with a powerful and targeted way of engaging with their passengers every time they fly.”

The company says Astrova, by Panasonic Avionics, demonstrates the its new approach to the market and its mindset in developing products and services “to help airlines drive higher net promoter scores (NPS), enhance passenger engagement, increase revenue, and deliver operational efficiencies through IFE and connectivity.” It leverages the latest consumer innovations to deliver unique passenger experiences that help carriers achieve their business goals. Several major airlines have selected Astrova, an innovative solution that also has the ability to provide easy, modular upgrades to in-cabin technology without full or costly interior changes.

An Enhanced Passenger Experience
On board Astrova-equipped aircraft, every passenger will immerse themselves in cinema-grade 4K OLED screens with High Dynamic Range (HDR) for the absolute best possible picture quality today. Passengers also will enjoy high fidelity audio through traditional wired connections or via Panasonic Avionics’ award-winning Bluetooth technology. By seamlessly interfacing their personal devices to the IFE system, passengers can create a multi-screen, multi-purpose environment which they are accustomed to at home.

As an industry first, Astrova by Panasonic Avionics will provide dedicated 67W of USB-C power to fast-charge passenger devices including notebooks and laptops.

Panasonic Avionics’ newest IFE seat-end solution also features programmable LED lighting that enhances passenger experience and enables airlines to optimize the cabin environment. Airlines can easily change the lighting to complement various phases of flight like food and beverage service. They also have the option to let passengers customize the lighting experience to their own personal preferences.

Maximizing Value to Airlines
Astrova, by Panasonic Avionics, redefines the role of the seatback IFE and reinforces its position as the most valuable opportunity for airlines to engage with their passengers. Because the average flight today is five hours, in-seat IFE offers a much longer dwell time than airline apps and other marketing channels. Astrova has been designed to provide significantly more opportunities to immerse passengers in an airline’s brand experience for both single-aisle and twin-aisle aircraft.

The solution is a seamless blend of newly developed hardware, software, and enterprise solutions that revolutionize the in-flight entertainment experience. Astrova lets airlines optimize the seatback to their individual commercial objectives, transforming it into an easily configured, flexible channel that caters to the personal and business needs of passengers each time they board an aircraft.

It also will be augmented and enabled by Panasonic Avionics’ global in-flight connectivity services. This allows airlines to easily personalize passenger content to engage them on a deeper level by providing access to passengers’ personal subscription services and content such as Apple Music, Spotify, Netflix, Disney+, YouTube, and HBO Max.

Maximizing the Return on Investment
Astrova, by Panasonic Avionics, re-imagines the ownership experience by delivering a range of commercial and operational benefits to airlines. Operational expenditure has been reduced by its ability to deliver faster on-wing maintenance and future upgrades.

Sustainability Contribution
To help airlines meet their sustainability goals, Astrova offers significant weight savings compared to other seat-end architectures, which will help airlines reduce fuel burn to help meet the airline industry’s climate goals.

Designed with modularity, scalability, and flexibility in mind, Astrova addresses the needs of modern airlines operating in today’ fast-changing market. Key hardware and software components can evolve over time to meet changing market requirements and satisfy ever-increasing passenger expectations. For example, a removable peripheral bar gives airlines the ability to easily add, upgrade or remove features such as USB power, Bluetooth audio, and other options.

It is also designed to be backward compatible with other Panasonic Avionics’ systems such as eX1, eX3, and NEXT, enabling operational commonality in areas such as media loading, spares and repairs for some line replaceable units, and cabin crew operations.

Andy Masson, Vice President of Product and Portfolio Management at Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said, “Astrova, by Panasonic Avionics, not only redefines in-flight entertainment but does so using a modular architecture that enables airlines to tailor it to support their individual commercial needs. The engaging, immersive, and connected experience it creates for passengers is matched by an operational ease of ownership that makes Astrova a win-win for airlines.”

Cobham Aerospace Communications is Taking Part in the ILA Berlin Air Show

Cobham Aerospace Communications is taking part in the ILA Berlin Air Show, in Germany, from 22 to 26 June 2022. At this year’s event, the focus of the ILA 2022 is climate-neutral flying.

Cobham Aerospace Communications, in the French aerospace industries association GIFAS pavilion, will present :
– A wide range of aircraft avionics systems including radio and audio control and management
– From entertainment to safety, reliable satcom systems for high-quality voice and data communications
– Airborne server solution (for IFE streaming services)
– Navigation, communications and surveillance antennas with new concept of integration into the composite
– Data link antennas
– Internal and external aircraft lightning

Cobham Aerospace Communications have a comprehensive knowledge of both defense and economic markets, including UAV and eVtol.

Collins Aerospace Launches FlightHub Electronic Flight Folder with Access to New Fuel Savings Application

Collins Aerospace is advancing digital aviation solutions that make flight more efficient and sustainable with FlightHub, its new Electronic Flight Folder accessible from an aircraft’s Electronic Flight Bag (EFB). FlightHub centralizes data sources and workflows for pilots and airlines, coordinating the lifecycle of an entire flight from start to finish.

Collating information into a single stream, FlightHub gives customers fast and easy access to all their flight information, from pre-flight documents, like flight plans and weather information, to post-flight summaries with actual timing and fuel burn reports.

FlightHub customers will also get access to Collins’ new Flight Profile Optimization (FPO) solution that delivers real-time route recommendations throughout a flight to help reduce CO2 emissions by saving fuel and time. Set for release later this year, FPO provides flight path information taken from multiple aircraft and ground sources for more up-to-date information than what is generally obtained from the operational flight plan (OFP) and the flight management system (FMS), which can be several hours old. In aggregate, airlines using FPO could see up to 1% annual savings on fuel per year.

“We’ve created FlightHub to reduce workload and streamline the experience for pilots, by cutting out unnecessary time sorting through multiple data sources. The application is also a quick and easy installation for airlines, which is key when implementing new technologies,” said Jen Schopfer, president of Connected Aviation Solutions for Collins Aerospace. “Flight Profile Optimization is the first of many features we will be introducing into FlightHub as we build and implement the right solutions to help our customers operate more efficiently and more sustainably.”

FlightHub supports the integration of airline and third-party applications and can operate as a stand-alone system or connect to the aircraft’s IP network to receive real-time updates. It’s one of many Collins applications designed with its unique data and analytics capabilities to provide value and efficiency to its customers across the aviation industry.

General Dynamics Mission Systems and Iridium Awarded $324 Million Ground Control and Operations Contract by the Space Development Agency


General Dynamics Mission Systems and Iridium Awarded $324 Million Ground Control and Operations Contract by the Space Development Agency

General Dynamics Mission Systems and Iridium Communications Inc.have been awarded a contract by the Space Development Agency in the amount of $324,516,613, including a base amount of $162,954,122 and $161,562,491 in options, to establish the ground Operations and Integration (O&I) segment for Tranche 1 of the National Defense Space Architecture (NDSA). Together, General Dynamics Mission Systems and Iridium will build ground entry points and operations centers for the NDSA as well as provide network operations and systems integration services for the SDA’s next tranche of proliferated low-earth orbit satellites.

The core operations and integration functions include enterprise management, network management, mission management, payload data management, and constellation monitoring that spans the ground, link, space, and user segments of the architecture.  Working with partners at KSAT USA, Raytheon and EMERGENT, the General Dynamics Mission Systems-Iridium team will develop, equip, staff, operate and maintain state-of-the-art, commercial-like operations centers, acquire and operate ground entry points, and lead ground-to-space integration efforts.

“We are incredibly proud to bring our long heritage of mission-critical space and ground communications and networking expertise to the Space Development Agency,” said Chris Brady, president, General Dynamics Mission Systems. “Together with our partners, we’re excited to build the foundation for the SDA’s initial warfighting capability and backbone of Joint All-Domain Command and Control.”

“Iridium, General Dynamics Mission Systems and the U.S. government have a long and successful history of working together and partnering on this project is a natural evolution of our relationship,” said Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium. “Iridium’s 25 years of experience operating in LEO makes us uniquely qualified for this opportunity, and we’re honored to take on this tremendous responsibility in support of this next generation network.”

Pratt & Whitney Joins SITA’S Data-Brokering Platform

Engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney and IT provider SITA have signed an agreement for full flight data retrieval and processing in support of predictive maintenance of aircraft engines. Many airlines will benefit from the new data-driven alignment between the two companies.

Rapidly available and actionable data about aircraft performance plays a crucial role in continuously improving airline operations. SITA’s cloud-based data-brokering platform e-Aircraft DataHub collects, transforms, and distributes full flight data collected from hundreds of sensors on the aircraft measuring, for example, engine section temperatures and pressures. This data shared with Pratt & Whitney facilitates Pratt & Whitney in providing its EngineWise Insights Plus engine health monitoring services to airlines.

Pratt & Whitney is the first Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) in the U.S. to join SITA’s e-Aircraft DataHub for big data analytics.

“Engine maintenance exists for the full life of an engine. Once an engine is produced, it then relies on Pratt & Whitney and our technicians to maintain, repair, and overhaul it whenever needed,” Joe Sylvestro, senior vice president of Aftermarket & Sustainment Operations at Pratt & Whitney, said. “Working with data delivery solution providers like SITA, our capability of collecting full-flight data is expanded to a larger aircraft population. More customers are able to benefit from our engineers’ and technicians’ expertise and data-driven insights leading to proactive, preventative maintenance.”

As the air transport industry’s neutral and open data-sharing platform, SITA’s e-Aircraft DataHub enables secure and easy data exchange between airlines and their operating partners such as Pratt & Whitney. Through advanced data processing, the platform provides structured, cleaned, filtered, coherent, and consistent output data across airlines and aircraft types without the need to add or modify aircraft equipment.

Yann Cabaret, CEO, SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, added: “e-Aircraft DataHub is a multi-fleet and hardware-free solution, allowing Pratt & Whitney to retrieve data from virtually any aircraft and any airline around the world, while these airlines remain in full control of their data. Through SITA’s unique data-brokering platform, Pratt & Whitney and airlines can collaborate effectively to gain invaluable, data-driven insights to improve their services across the board.”

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