PARIS: Goodrich to supply Terprom for A400M

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Goodrich has won a lucrative deal to provide a vital piece of flight safety equipment for Airbus Military's A400M transport.

The order from EADS company Cassidian will see Goodrich's UK-based Sensors and Integrated Systems team provide its Terprom terrain referenced navigation (TRN) system to support future low-level operations. Development activities will continue at the company's Plymouth site in Devon, England, for about the next two years.

A software-based application which combines data from an aircraft's radar altimeter and inertial navigation system with a digital terrain database, Terprom will provide A400M crews with predictive ground collision avoidance, plus warnings against wires and other obstacles. The passive system also has a claimed navigational accuracy of 15-30m (49-98ft).

Integration with the transport will be via its Cassidian Electronics-developed military mission management system, with the combination having been proved during a concept phase which concluded in mid-2010.

The Terprom installation will become a standard fit for all A400Ms produced, says Martin Couch, avionics business director for Goodrich's Plymouth team, who expects the order for remaining development work and system licences to be received soon.

"Terprom will greatly enhance the situational awareness of the A400M crew, allowing them to operate with increased safety at low level, in poor conditions or when GPS is denied," said Daniela Dudek, military mission management system programme head for Cassidian Electronics.

Formerly known as EADS Defence Electronics, the company had previously planned to develop its own terrain-following technology for the A400M, but instead opted for "a battle-proven TRN capability that has been specifically designed for tactical transport operations".

Terprom has already been integrated with the Boeing C-17, and with Lockheed Martin C-130s being upgraded via the US Air Force's Boeing-led avionics modernisation programme. In all, more than 5,000 military aircraft have been equipped with the software so far for 14 nations, Goodrich said. Couch noted that in combination with its other existing orders, the major A400M success "will generate revenue for the next six to 10 years".

Meanwhile, the company is continuing to invest in possible further platform applications, for example with military helicopters and basic trainer aircraft.