Avionics specialist also releases revamped datalink and communications product

ACSS, the Phoenix, Arizona-based avionics specialist and developer of the combined terrain and traffic collision avoidance system (T2CAS), is expanding the concept further by developing a wider platform of combined safety systems dubbed the Protector+.

The basis for the new offering is a common computing platform that enables a range of surveillance functions to be hosted in the same "box" using common radio-frequency and processor components. ACSS, an L-3 Communications and Thales company, plans to offer a variety of functions under the Protector+ umbrella including T2CAS, a terrain awareness warning system, Mode S transponder and its TCAS 2000.

Protector+ is also designed as a "plug and play" upgrade for aircraft already equipped with either the TCAS 2000 or T2CAS, and will also house the MASS - a military TCAS that has been developed to aid formation flying and station-keeping.

"It's like having a personal computer. Now you get to pick what software is hosted," says ACSS president Joe Hoffman. "It means an OEM [original equipment manufacturer] can decide to have one, two or all three systems hosted within the Protector+. It's all about flexibility, and that's what is different from the past."

Hoffman says the integrated approach may also be useful in helping operators make block upgrades to meet impending requirements such as the European airborne collision avoidance system mandate for aircraft weighing 5,700kg (12,500lb) and upwards.

"When different functionality and development roadmaps converge, as in this case, it will make major modification blocks easier. It will enable them to kill two birds with one stone," he adds.

ACSS is also taking advantage of the Protector+ development to launch a repackaged datalink and communications system called Dlink+. Derived from a package co-developed with Pentar Avionics and already selected by Air Wisconsin for its fleet of Bombardier CRJs and BAe 146s, the Dlink+ is now formally part of the ACSS portfolio.

The suite includes a communications management unit, VDL Mode 2 digital radio and control display unit, and, because of its small packaging, is being aimed mainly at regional aircraft.

Source: Flight International