Thales Avionics and Smiths Aerospace have delivered test software to Airbus for the start of formal validation of their delayed "New FM" flight management system (FMS) on the A330 and A340 widebodies.

The partners are aiming for certification and entry-in-service of the REV2 version of New FM on the A330/A340 by the first quarter of next year, having achieved certification of the REV1 standard on the Airbus A320 family in September last year. The team are aiming to challenge Honeywell's monopoly in the FMS market on the long-range Airbus aircraft.

The test software package, called L4A, adds A330/A340 compatibility, polar area navigation and automatic dependent surveillance (ADS) for future air navigation system A (FANS A), to the current REV1 functions. Mario Atias, Smiths Aerospace engineering programme manager for Airbus and New FM, says the L4A package is the first of three software packages due to be delivered to Airbus this year to enable full system validation. "Once validation is successful, Airbus will identify the first aircraft to receive New FM," adds Atias.

Thales and Smiths say New FM offers a liquid crystal multipurpose control display unit, the largest navigation database capacity available on Airbus aircraft (5Mbytes), and flight planning flexibility including multi-revision temporary flight plan and an "undo" function.

The two companies had intended to certificate the A330/A340 FMS by mid-2000, but delays have forced customers to fit an interim Honeywell FMS. No orders have been cancelled.

Honeywell is currently the sole-source supplier of FMS on the A330/A340, with its Pegasus system, and the company last year was awarded sole-supplier status for the A380 FMS.

Source: Flight International