Rockwell Collins Fights Back At Garmin With Fusion EDS

Feb 28, 2012

 

By Graham Warwick 
Rockwell Collins has secured an unidentified launch customer for a lower-cost version of its Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system, aimed at light and medium-sized business aircraft.

The deal to supply the Fusion Embedded Display System (EDS) cockpit was won in “head-to-head” competition against Garmin, says Kent Statler, executive vice president and chief operating officer for commercial systems.

Garmin has made recent inroads into the business-aircraft cockpit market previously dominated by Rockwell Collins and Honeywell, its G5000 integrated avionics system being selected for Cessna’s Citation Ten and Bell Helicopter’s newly launched 525 Relentess.

Pro Line Fusion is under development to equip a range of larger business jets, and is being certified this year on Bombardier’s long-range Global 5000 and 6000 and Gulfstream’s super midsize G280.

“We have taken the Fusion software and made it fit into light jets, rotary wing, and even Defense Department rotary-wing,” says Statler. “And we will be at or below the price point of Garmin.”

Where Fusion has a cabinet-based architecture providing the redundancy required for large jets, Fusion EDS repackages the processing hardware and software into “smart” touchscreen displays.

The synthetic-vision primary flight display developed for Fusion will be an option for Fusion EDS in its first application, says Statler. The company’s HGS-3000 compact head-up display, designed for light and midsized aircraft, will also be an option.

Statler says Rockwell Collins does “not see a lot of clean-sheet business aircraft” emerging from manufacturers over the next five years, but instead expects to see block-point upgrades with new technologies to add capabilities at minimum cost.

The company expects aircraft with Pro Line 21 integrated cockpits to be upgraded with Fusion capabilities and is developing aftermarket products that will enable Fusion EDS touchscreen displays to be integrated with existing avionics.

Statler says there is a lot of interest among manufacturers and operators of light and medium jets in touchscreen primary flight displays as they offer easier-to-assimilate, iPad-like, icon-driven interaction with the avionics.

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