The Boeing Company has selected Elbit Systems to provide advanced avionics systems for its fighter aircraft, including the upgraded versions of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-15SE Silent Eagle. Both are currently competing in several modern fighter tenders in Asia and Latin America.
Elbit Systems Large Area Display (formerly known as Cockpit NG) was unveiled at the Farnborough Air Show 2010. The system will become the basis for advanced cockpit systems, to be integrated with modern or modernized fighter aircraft offered by Boeing. The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is one of three contenders for the Brazilian FX-2 program, and the F-15 family of aircraft, including the Silent Eagle currently competing for the FX-3 program in South Korea. The advanced cockpit forms part of Boeing’s F-15 modernization roadmap, which is also considered for the new and modernized Saudi Arabian F-15SA fighters.
For Elbit Systems, the MOU marks an excellent opportunity to strengthens its position a strategic Tier 1 supplier for Boeing’s upgrading programs, including the projected modernization of the US Air Force F-15C/D/E fighter aircraft. Bound by the current austerity measures, air forces are realizing upgrading programs as a viable option in expanding operational capabilities of existing systems within limited budget constraints.
Comprehensive avionic upgrades will be required for these fighters, following the integration of AESA radars and modernized communications, enabling the aircrew to gain maximum benefit of the new sensors. The advanced cockpit is expected to be ready for production by 2015. The Air Force is currently testing the new Raytheon AN/APG-82(V)2 AESA radar which already demonstrated target detection capability farther away than ever before. The Air Force plans to deploy the new radar on the F-15E in 2014. The Singapore Air Force F-15SG employs the Raytheon AN/APG-63(V)3 AESA radar. The Saudi Arabian new and modernized Eagle is also expected to use the AN/APG-63(V)3.
Large Area Display Technology
The system employs 11-inch by 19-inch (27.9 x 48.2 cm) Large Area Display (LAD) integrating tactical data, mission planning and flight information into a complete situational picture responding to specific mission phase and pilot controls. LAD is designed to operate in synch with the Boeing JHMCS II helmet mounted display, also developed by VSI (Elbit Systems also shares 50% of the ownership of VSI). The advanced cockpit system will improve the way the pilot interacts with the aircraft and will enable growth to next-generation visual cueing, improving situational awareness and increasing aircraft effectiveness.
Opportunities in Latin America
In addition to the cooperation between the Boeing Company and Elbit Systems of America, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the two companies supports the development of advanced avionics capabilities in Brazil, through Elbit Systems’ Brazilian subsidiary AEL Sistemas S.A. of Porto Alegre. Boeing is expecting the activities proposed for AEL Sistemas will enhance it’s industrial participation offer on the F-X2 fighter program.
The MOU outlines opportunities for AEL Sistemas, to participate in the design, development, production and support of some Large Area Display software and hardware. It is expected the knowledge and capabilities gained from this work also will support Elbit Systems and AEL Sistemas’ efforts to establish an Advanced Cockpit Technology Center of Excellence in Brazil, expanding their advanced cockpit avionics market reach to other fixed-wing platforms, as well as rotorcraft. Elbit Systems has committed to invest in the development of advanced cockpit avionics capabilities at AEL.
“Boeing and its Tier 1 supplier-partners are committed to bringing key technologies to Brazil,” said Boeing Military Aircraft President Chris Chadwick. “We are focused on building long-lasting opportunities for Brazilian industry in the development and production of key technologies as Boeing continues to enhance its family of tactical fighter aircraft to meet the emerging needs of our customers around the globe.” The scope of opportunities for AEL Sistemas could reach beyond the FX-2 program, to modernization, upgrading and new fighter acquisition programs throughout Latin America.