New Zealand Air Force will use autopilot from BAE Systems

March 18, 2005
LOS ANGELES, 15 March 2005. L-3 Communications Corp. has awarded BAE Systems a contract to upgrade P-3 Orion autopilot systems for the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

LOS ANGELES, 15 March 2005. L-3 Communications Corp. has awarded BAE Systems a contract to upgrade P-3 Orion autopilot systems for the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

The contract calls for upgrading existing BAE Systems Digital Autopilot Systems (DAS) with a new flight director and a corresponding upgrade to the system's autopilot control panel. The autopilot upgrade is part of a larger upgrade program in which L-3 Communications will upgrade cockpit and mission avionics for New Zealand's P-3 fleet. The BAE Systems contract is valued at $3 million.

"We are especially pleased that the Royal New Zealand Air Force -- as the launch customer for our Digital Autopilot Systems in 1999 -- is incorporating the high-end functionality of our flight director in its autopilot systems," said Brett Hush, director of Military Flight Control Programs for BAE Systems Platform Solutions.

Said Roger Shuler, BAE Systems' program manager for P-3 programs: "The Flight Director upgrade will allow Royal New Zealand Air Force pilots to maximize the full capability of this advanced, multifunction autopilot in all range of missions, both over sea and over land."

This award follows the U.S. Navy's 2004 award of a $41.9 million contract to upgrade 150 P-3 Orion aircraft with the digital autopilot.

The P-3 DAS is a dual-redundant digital autopilot system that offers enhanced safety, high system reliability, and lower operating costs. The BAE Systems system has logged more than 10,000 hours with P-3 fleets worldwide, including the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Border Protection Service, the Canadian Department of National Defense, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the Australian Air Force.

The DAS is lighter, more capable, and more reliable than the legacy analog systems on P-3 aircraft. The system provides pilots with enhanced modes of operation, including control-wheel steering, navigation steering, a broad range of hold modes, and automatic approach to CAT 1 landings. The system also provides ARINC 429/MIL-STD-1553 interfaces that are compatible with current and anticipated Global Air Traffic Management requirements. As an off-the-shelf solution, the DAS can be installed as a form-fit-function replacement, or as part of a larger avionics upgrade program.

BAE Systems is an international company engaged in the development, delivery, and support of advanced defense and aerospace systems in the air, on land, at sea and in space.

BAE Systems North America is one of America's foremost national security, aerospace and information systems companies. It is a leading provider of electronic and information-based systems and knowledge-based solutions that meet its customers' mission effectiveness and operational safety needs. BAE Systems North America employs more than 30,000 people at sites across the United States and the United Kingdom and generates more than $5 billion in annual sales. For more information, see

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!