Elbit and Jetcraft to offer EVS retrofit for Challenger 604

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Nearly a decade after developing the first enhanced vision system, Kollsman has become the first EVS supplier to break into the aftermarket business after forging a distributor agreement with Jetcraft Avionics.

Kollsman's EVS II will initially be available as a retrofit on Bombardier Challenger 604s, with certification planned before the end of the year. EVS II is now only available on new Gulfstream G350s, G450s and G550s, having been certificated on all three platforms at the end of last year.

Kollsman, which became a subsidiary of Israel's Elbit Systems in 2000 but has rebranded itself Elbit Systems of America, has Jetcraft as the aftermarket distributor for EVS II. Jetcraft, which is more known for its business jet broker division, will also offer Kollsman's new advanced technology head-up display as a retrofit, again starting with the 604.

 © Bombardier

Elbit Systems of America chief executive Raanan Horowitz says Jetcraft will finish integrating the AT-HUD with EVS II on the first 604 in the second half of next year. He says the 604 will be the first of at least five business jet types certificated for the AT-HUD/EVS II retrofit. Horowitz adds that Elbit and Jetcraft have not "locked in" the next four aircraft types, but they could include the Challenger 300, Boeing BBJ and Dassault Falcon 900.

A HUD needs to be integrated with EVS II for operators to enjoy the full functionality, including poor weather approaches. Currently Kollsman's EVS II is integrated with a Honeywell avionics suite on Gulfstream aircraft. The pre-owned 604 will be the first aircraft to be outfitted with the AT-HUD as Elbit so far has failed to persuade any manufacturer to select its new lighter weight HUD product.

Kollsman, which certificated its original version of the EVS in 2001, has been looking at offering EVS as a retrofit for several years. Rival EVS suppliers say EVS previously has not been offered in the aftermarket sector because it is hard to make a business case for such a retrofit. They question the reasoning behind the Elbit-Jetcraft partnership, claiming the cost of the technology still has not come down to a point where it makes economic sense for operators. "It's very difficult for the retrofit market," says Esterline CMC Electronics advanced vision systems director Marc Bouliane.

While it remains to be seen what the uptake will be for Kollsman EVS II in the aftermarket sector, for new aircraft the economics of EVS are now widely proven. EVS in recent years has become standard equipment on most new large business jets. Elbit's EVS II was recently selected by Gulfstream for the new G250 and G650 as well as by Embraer for the new Lineage 1000.

Meanwhile, CMC has been selected by Boeing to provide its EVS sensor for new BBJs. The sensor will be integrated with a Rockwell Collins EVS and head-up guidance system.