Frontline Notebook
Mar 15, 2007

Australian Government announces Plans to Put More Muscle into Future Air Defence
The Australian government will fork out an additional six billion dollars to buy 24 USA-built fighter aircraft. The two-seater Boeing Super Hornet fighter procurement was announced by Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston and Defence Minister Brendan Nelson.

The price tag is higher than expected and is in addition to the $16 billion needed by 2012 to buy 70 joint strike fighters.

The new spending is genuinely new and will not be a burden on the 10-year $50 billion Defence Capability Plan.

The Super Hornets will allow the F-111s to retire on time in 2010 and will provide a buffer for any delays with the delivery of the Lockheed Martin built JSF. The next generation JSF stealth fighter will come on-line after 2014 to replace the RAAFs F-111 and F/A-18 Hornets.

Crews will start training in 2009 and the first Super Hornets are due to arrive in 2010. The aircraft will be based at Amberley Air Base, near Brisbane, with four new C-17 Globemaster transports (costing $2 billion), the new early warning aircraft, and the aerial tanker fleet.

Esterline Corporation completes the acquisition of CMC Electronics Inc.
March 2007 – Esterline specializes in core areas of Avionics & Controls; Sensors & Systems; and Advanced Materials. With the acquisition of CMC, Esterline now employs more than 9,000 employees in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, the U.K. and China.

Robert W. Cremin, Esterline’s chief executive officer, said that:  “The transaction significantly expands the scale of Esterline’s existing Avionics & Controls business by adding a premier systems integrator of high technology avionics. CMC is a natural evolution following Esterline’s successful performance as a Tier 1 supplier to Boeing for the 787 cockpit Overhead Panel System.”

Cremin added that: “CMC will continue to run as a stand-alone operation reporting through Esterline’s Avionics & Controls segment. CMC brings us an experienced and proven management team and a strong engineering and technology base.”

Jean-Pierre Mortreux, president and CEO, CMC Electronics, said: “We are very pleased with the conclusion of this transaction. Being part of the Esterline family will allow CMC to pursue its long-term strategy and provide additional opportunities for future growth.”

CMC Electronics designs and produces leading technology electronics products, including Flight Management Systems, Enhanced Vision Systems, Electronic Flight Bags, Global Positioning System receivers and Satcom antennas for the aviation and global positioning markets. CMC’s focus is on delivering innovative cockpit systems integration and avionics solutions to its customers worldwide. Its principal locations are in Montreal, Ottawa, and Chicago. The company employs more than 1,200 people, including over 400 engineers, and has been designing and building innovative electronics systems since 1902.

Engenuity Technologies acquired by CAE
An offer by CAE to purchase outstanding shares of Engenuity Technologies is expected to close in April 2007. The Engenuity Technologies Board has unanimously resolved to recommend that shareholders accept the offer.

“The acquisition of Engenuity Technologies is another step in our growth strategy in our military business,” says Marc Parent, Group President, Simulation Products and Military Training & Services, CAE. “Engenuity will add new technologies, an established customer base, and effective sales channels to accelerate our growth initiatives. These benefits are a testimony to the quality of the people working at Engenuity today.”

Engenuity Technologies develops commercial-off-the-shelf simulation and visualization software for the aerospace and defence markets. Core products include design software for creating cockpit display models and simulations; a toolkit to create and interconnect simulation environments; and an artificial intelligence tool used to model individual and crowd behaviour for gaming and military simulations.

Engenuity Technologies recently acquired AcuSoft, a modelling and simulation company based in Orlando, Florida, with a strong client base in the US Army and Marine community. Based in Montreal,  with offices in Orlando, Atlanta, London, Paris and Düsseldorf, Engenuity Tech­nolo­gies employs approximately 120 people.

“We are very enthusiastic about joining a global leader in modelling, simulation and training,” said Patrice Commune, President and Chief Executive Officer, Engenuity Technologies. “With its 60 years of experience and leading-edge products, CAE sets the standard in terms of innovation.”

Airbus Awards Contract to NGRAIN
April 2007 – Airbus, one of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers, has selected Vancouver-based NGRAIN, the award-winning provider of 3D performance support solutions, for a project worth $1.2 million. Under this agreement, NGRAIN will integrate their 3D performance support solutions into Airbus’ equipment test simulators and in-service maintenance applications.

NGRAIN will be integrated with Airbus’ High-Lift Test Rig simulator, used to test wing components and behaviour of various Airbus airplane products. NGRAIN’s interactive 3D simulations will help engineers to quickly identify and interpret error messages generated throughout simulated test runs. Error messages and resolution data will be processed in special knowledge databases to support structural monitoring. Engineers will access the knowledge through the a portable maintenance platform for faster and more accurate troubleshooting, resulting in accelerated resolution of in-service problems. NGRAIN is partnering with German system integrator ExxpertSystems GmbH to deliver the project to Airbus.

“We are very excited about the 3D capabilities that NGRAIN will bring to the system,” says Jens Strahmann, Manager, High Lift Test, Flight Control and Hydraulics, Airbus Deutschland. “We are always looking for ways to reduce operations and maintenance costs. This demand drives us to pioneer innovative solutions with technology partners such as NGRAIN.”
Aircraft maintenance is a complex process due to the high volume of parts and the safety standards that repairs must follow. Quick access to accurate repair procedure and parts information is critically important to maintenance technicians.
©  FrontLine Defence 2007