A next generation avionics suite with tactile interaction and large displays for civilian and military aircraft and a connected collaborative combat system that aims to give forces the upper hand against a range of hybrid threats are just some of the capabilities Thales will unveil at the Paris Air Show from the 17-23 June.
"We aim to turn the ‘fog of war’ into a clear mosaic that continuously gives the most useful picture of the battlefield,” explains Bruno Depardon, Thales’ director of Airborne strategy in Defence Mission Systems. “Through aerial connected collaborative combat, we can detect and potentially transform surprises into opportunities, so informational superiority will continue to mean operational superiority."
Thales' connected combat solution combines Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Connectivity and Cybersecurity; taken together, they make up what the company describes as ‘Internet of air combat’ where critical information can be shared and applied continuously. AI and Data Analytics will be used to large volumes of raw data into clear information and strategic choices.
“Thales experience and expertise across all of these technologies makes us a key actor into putting the concept into place. We are at the heart of collaborative combat because secure and efficient connectivity is in our DNA,” says Depardon.
To bolster its AI offering, Thales has acquired AI start-up Psibernetix to help create Certifiable AI. Originally made famous by its aerial combat application called ALPHA, which consistently defeated the world’s top pilots in simulated air combat, Psibernetix is a pioneer in computationally efficient AI technologies. The acquisition will establish explainable AI processes for applications in safety-critical environments.
Thales' next generation avionics suite, FlytX, will also be unveiled at the Paris Air Show. It is the result of a decade of research conducted in co-operation with pilots, ergonomists, doctors and engineers. FlytX's flight deck system with tactile interaction and large displays will fit any size of civil & military cockpit such as helicopter, turboprop or a business jet.
The system achieves a 30 to 40% reduction in size, weight and power consumption compared to legacy avionics. This reduction has been achieved through the integration of avionics applications such as a Flight Management System, Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System and Radio Management System inside the display. The number of Line Replaceable Units has been dramatically reduced. The 'virtualisation' of control panels, moving from buttons to touch interactions, delivers additional benefits.
Colors and contrast can be modified to decrease visual fatigue while presenting clear indications for alerts. Tlouchscreen capacities enable new ways of interactions with avionics. Pie charts are a new way of diplaying and selecting menus.
Focus on the mission and increased operational flexibility drives Thales FlytX development
It provides precious decision-making help and assistance to restore time margins in emergency situations and reduce workload complexity of a large variety of operators' mission profiles. The use of the FMS has been strongly simplified by direct interaction with the flight plan, on the digital map or on points of interest. Pilots will be able to focus ever more on their tasks to enhance safety and make the mission more efficient.