L-3 Aviation Products, a leading manufacturer and provider of surveillance and safety avionics for commercial airliners, opened an office in Beijing last December. Now it plans to use that presence as a springboard toward greater involvement with Chinese airlines and aerospace companies.

 

We had been selling into China from a distance, says Denise Millard, Vice President of International Business Development for the L-3 Aviation Products Sector. But the Chinese office enabled a fleet representative and increased customer support for a growing customer base.

 

L-3s main avionics safety product is the ACSS T3CAS, a single line replaceable unit that can host all or any combination of Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), Terrain Awareness Warning System ( TAWS ) , Mode S Transponder, and Airborne Traffic Situation Awareness (ATSA) / SafeRoute ADS-B In applications. ACSS is 70% owned by L-3, and 30% by Thales.

 

Not surprisingly, T3CAS is an integral part of the Thales avionics suite offered by Airbus, and T3CAS itself is Airbus preferred solution on all new single aisle aircraft. Two years ago China Eastern Airlines selected Thales and L-3 for its new single aisle fleet, becoming L-3s first major airline win in China and its biggest customer there.

 

L-3 is also finding success with airlines for its flight data recorders and, more recently, for its satcom/Iridium satellite-based products.

 

Millard notes that Chinas Civil Aviation Authority (CAAC) has mandated that airliners be equipped with a second cockpit communications system. L-3 already has a good position for that equipment with Airbus, and this will be a promising market.

 

Now L - 3 needs more involvement in China to win more business. We have taken the first baby steps, she says.

 

It has partnered with Chinese avionics company that manufactures parts for an L-3 avionics product that was recently certified in the U.S. She would not disclose the name of the partner, nor the product, saying that disclosure would be premature. However, the plan is to sell that product into China after winning CAAC certification, and then explore Chinese manufacture in order to simplify the supply chain.

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