Airbus Industrie is considering passing responsibility for the integration of avionics on the proposed A3XX to a specialist, allowing companies outside the consortium to bid for the work.
Speaking at the 1997 ERA Avionics Conference in London on 19 November, Michel Comes, director of systems at the Airbus Large Aircraft division, admitted that the "debate exists within Airbus", with some arguing that the company should retain responsibility, as systems are so integral within the aircraft, while others say that outsourcing could be beneficial.
This month, Airbus launched a multi-partner demonstrator programme with the aim of investigating the possibility, says Comes, who adds: "By the end of 1999, things will be clear-it's the first time an airframer has had such close contact with suppliers one or two years before the launch date".
Airbus is working closely with certification authorities to define a regulatory framework within which to consider technology for the A3XX. Europe's Joint Aviation Authorities is "currently nominating specialists in each area, and will announce a type certificate by the end of the year", says Comes.
The Airbus approach to the A3XX is summed up by "three key words - integrated, modular and open", says Comes. One of the main aims is to take a simpler approach than used in the Airbus A340, which has "15 different standards and 130-150 different computers", he says. This will be achieved by using "public standards for all components-no proprietary standards, with modularity for re-use of hardware and software components to minimise development costs and reduce spares count". "We will develop the avionics for the first part of the next century on the A3XX," concludes Comes.
Source: Flight International