PARIS 2009: Thales tweaks avionics for prototype Superjets

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Flight controls and avionics supplier Thales is intending to roll out two avionics upgrades for the Sukhoi Superjet 100.

Speaking during a media briefing at the Paris Air Show today, Thales head of regional aircraft and business jet activities Alan Boursier said: "We are now delivering a new version of the avionics suites, including the last two upgrades - namely in the flight management system and flight warning system."

The Superjet 100 performed its maiden flight in May 2008 and two prototypes have now accumulated more than 200 flights.

Boursier says: "We will fit [the upgrades] directly to the third aircraft, which is due to fly in July, and afterwards we will retrofit the others. We still have a lot of flight testing to do, but according to our understanding it is the version which will be certified at the end of this year."

He explains that the FMS modification relates to the vertical element of the type's four-dimensional navigation system. Both upgrades were requested by Sukhoi as part of the normal development process and did not result from the flight-test programme. "It was not a problem," he notes.

He adds that Thales is ploughing "huge investment" into the Superjet programme, which he estimates at more than €100 million ($139 million).

Thales is also working on an avionics upgrade which will be rolled out on ATR's new -600 series aircraft. Boursier says: "We have delivered the version to switch on the engine and the final avionics suite that will fly in July."