Embraer selects Curtiss-Wright data acquisition flight test technology for KC-390 aircraft

CHARLOTTE, N.C., 29 May 2013. Embraer engineers needed rugged data acquisition systems for use on the KC-390 medium-lift military transport, which is the company’s largest aircraft. They found their solution at the Curtiss-Wright Controls Avionics & Electronics (CWC-AE) division in Charlotte, N.C.

KC-390
KC-390

CHARLOTTE, N.C., 29 May 2013. Embraer engineers needed rugged data acquisition systems for use on the KC-390 medium-lift military transport, which is the company’s largest aircraft. They found their solution at the Curtiss-Wright Controls Avionics & Electronics (CWC-AE) division in Charlotte, N.C.

KC-390KC-390

CWC-AE won a contract to provide Embraer with its Acra KAM-500 data acquisition products and specialist flight test Ethernet switches, which will be used during certification of the military transport aircraft.

Embraer’s KC390 features an Ethernet networked Flight Test Instrumentation system. It is the largest single networked system that has been configured to date with the Acra KAM-500, comprising 46 chassis and 14 network switches, says a spokesperson.

Embraer KC-390Embraer KC-390

The Acra KAM-500 system’s primary purpose on the KC-390 is to acquire the data required for the aircraft’s flight test program. Embraer’s data acquisition requirements go beyond the mandatory flight certification parameters, says a representative; as a result, the systems supplied will also collect data to be used across the company, which may help to enhance computer models or troubleshoot any issues that might arise during the program.

“This award…comprises our first program under a new long-term agreement with Embraer and covers all of the KC-390’s flight test instrumentation needs as well as future programs,” says Tom Quinly, president of Curtiss-Wright Controls. “Embraer and Curtiss-Wright are working together to optimize flight test programs over the longer term by aligning future requirements and roadmaps.

The contract falls under a new Long Term Agreement (LTA) with Embraer. The initial value of the contract is valued at approximately $4 million. The potential lifetime value of the LTA is estimated at $30 million. Shipments of data acquisition units commenced in the fourth quarter of 2012 and are expected to continue in line with the flight test programs covered under the LTA over the next five years.

“Together with Embraer, we are unifying the KC-390’s data acquisition and database structures across multiple platforms and teams,” adds Quinly. “These efforts enable Embraer to save time and cost, by reducing training, data conversion and operational requirements. The result will be many long-term benefits that can be maximized over many years across numerous diverse programs.”

The Curtiss-Wright Controls Acra business unit, part of its Avionics & Electronics division, will manufacture the products covered by the contract and the LTA. The products covered by the LTA are being shipped to Embraer in São José dos Campos, Brazil.

The KC-390 is the largest airplane ever built by the Brazilian aeronautics industry and will set a new standard for medium-sized military transport aircraft in terms of performance and payload capacity. With its 23-ton capacity and a maximum cruising speed of 465 knots (860 km/h), the KC-390 will provide significant mobility gains for its operators and will considerably reduce mission time.

The KC-390 uses state-of-the-art avionics, with dual HUD, and a full-featured mission system, including accurate computed air release point (CARP). It is equipped with a complete self-protection system and is fully NVG compatible.

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