North American avionics specialist CMC Electronics expects sales to increase again this year, with its commercial business "stable and growing" despite the civil downturn, and its military business expanding. The company's focus on cockpit retrofits and upgrades appears to be paying off.

Investment fund Oncap acquired CMC, formerly Canadian Marconi, from BAE Systems in April 2001, and in July 2002 the company purchased US low-cost military avionics supplier Flight Visions. CMC also owns Canadian GPS receiver specialist NovAtel and US infrared sensor supplier CMC Electronics Cincinnati. The company sold specialist avionics firm Northstar, but retained its nascent electronic flight bag (EFB) product line.

The commercial business has bucked the downward trend because of its mix of retrofit and original equipment, says executive vice-president Bruce Bailey. CMC has won "at least 90%" of the Boeing 747-200/300 cockpit upgrade market, he says, with retrofit sales expected to continue "probably for three more years".

CMC has several new commercial products planned, including the CMA-9000 next-generation flight management system targeted at original equipment manufacturers, a second-generation EFB aimed at airlines, broadband satellite-communications antennas and, "within around five years", a combined satellite-navigation receiver for the US GPS and European Galileo systems. Bailey says CMC is starting to see air transport interest in its enhanced vision sensor, under development for the Bombardier Global Express.

In the military sector, CMC is positioning itself to be a cockpit supplier, says vice-president Bob Atac. Building on its contract to supply 3,000 large-screen control display units for upgraded US Army Sikorsky UH-60Ms, the company is targeting the helicopter market for a CMA-2032MC version with embedded FV-4000 mission computer. CMC has also sought additional customers for the integrated weapon delivery system (IWDS) and HeliHawk head-up display (HUD) developed for the AugustaWestland Super Lynx 300.

The "current final step" in the company's military strategy is the Cockpit 4000, says Atac. This includes FV-4000 mission computer, SparrowHawk HUD and CMC-developed liquid-crystal displays. Cockpit 4000 has been selected for the Korea Aerospace Industries KT-1C and Raytheon T-6B turboprop trainers.

Source: Flight International