Polaris aircraft

Esterline CMC Electronics (CMC) has received a contract to modernise the Canadian Department of National Defence’s CC-150 Polaris multi-role transport and tanker aircraft (MRTT) fleet.

Under the contract, the company will modernise the five aircraft fleet’s legacy avionics equipment through integration of its CMA-9000 flight management systems (FMS) with vertical navigation functionality and global positioning system wide-area augmentation system sensors.

Installation of future air navigation functionality, comprising airline operational communication and controller-pilot datalink communications functions onto the aircraft will also be carried out by the company.

Additional work includes software development, system engineering design, certification package development, as well as installation kit production and project management.

The upgrades are expected to provide the fleet with a polar capability, which in turn will facilitate tanker refuelling operations across Canada’s Northern region.

Additional benefits include compliance to the forecasted Federal Aviation Administration and International Civil Aviation Organization standards for the communication, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management system.

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Derived from the company’s proven CMA-900 FMS/GPS and CMA-3000 helicopter FMS, the CMA-9000 is a next-generation FMS and features a large navigation database capability that helps the aircraft to efficiently use the available airspace, as it undergoes upgrades over the next 20 years.

Esterline, which is planning to receive three Supplemental Type Certifications for FMS/GPS, polar navigation and FANS-1 upgrades, will conduct all the manufacturing and installation work in Canada.

The software is currently undergoing flight testing and is expected to enter service in 2013.

The Airbus CC-150 Polaris is a derivative of the Airbus A310-300 commercial jet, and is used by the Royal Canadian Air Force for long-range cargo and personnel transport missions in austere locations.

The five aircraft fleet features two MRTTs and passenger/freighter combi aircraft, as well as one VIP and passenger transport aircraft.

Image: A Royal Canadian Air Force’s CC-150 Polaris aircraft during its flight. Photo: courtesy of John Davies.