Rockwell Collins is now offering a new aircraft-tracking system for various Airbus models and a cost-efficient messaging solution for the A350 XWB.
The tracking system—Onboard Aircraft Tracking—is an upgrade to the Airline Operational Control avionics software and is available as a forward-fit option for the A320, A330 and A340 models and is standard on the A350 XWB and A380. It is also available as a retrofit. When triggered by an abnormal situation, such as low altitude, low speed, excessive pitch, engine failure or other parameters, the system automatically triggers an increased rate of sending position information.
Onboard Aircraft Tracking meets IATA’s standards for aircraft tracking for the Aircraft Tracking Task Force and Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System. This includes broadcasting position every 15 minutes during normal operations and at least once a minute during abnormal operations, according to Rockwell Collins.
“This solution enables an aircraft to detect specific abnormal conditions and self-report to the airline the moment something occurs,” said David Nieuwsma, senior v-p, Rockwell Collins Information Management Services. “When every second counts, the ability to automatically and instantaneously identify a possible issue can provide a significant advantage for airline operators interested in tracking their aircraft, particularly when flying over polar or oceanic regions.”
For A350 XWB operators, the new Arinc GlobalLink A350 Media Independent Aircraft Messaging (MIAM) service speeds up large data transmissions generated by the new Airbus jet. The higher-bandwidth GlobalLink system sends these MIAM messages via Internet protocol (IP) “over all available A350 communications paths,” according to Rockwell Collins. The system converts ACARS MIAM messages to any protocol, so they can be sent via IP over cellular, Wi-Fi and broadband satcom networks. This allows A350 XWB operators to receive the messages converted into in their desired format, the company said, “allowing interoperability with any existing host and end system, thereby saving airlines potentially significant investments in new additional ground systems.”
“As new IP-enabled are entered into service,” said Michael DiGeorge, v-p commercial aviation and network services for Rockwell Collins, “this new capability will ensure communications interoperability across an airline’s entire fleet.”