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Havelsan’s Innovation and Advancements Open up New Civil Aviation Market Opportunities

Issue 2 - 2019
Havelsan’s Innovation and Advancements Open up New Civil Aviation Market Opportunities
In this interview General Manager of Havelsan, Ahmet Hamdi Atalay discusses the Cornea JV with Turkish Technic, the developing market of Civil Aviation Simulators, Air Traffic Control and Airport Surveillance Radar simulation training and the company’s willingness to support new training through different types of partnerships and investment models as they are in talks with several domestic and foreign investors.
Aviation Turkey: Havelsan and Turkish Technic formed the company Cornea by signing a cooperation agreement on in-flight entertainment systems and the internet. What is the current situation of Havelsan`s work on in-flight entertainment systems? What is the position and work share of Havelsan in Cornea regarding the technological infrastructure and R&D studies?

Ahmet Hamdi Atalay: Within the scope of the partnership initiated by the Strategic Cooperation Agreement signed between Havelsan and Turkish Technic in 2012, the first prototype of the Wireless IFE system was completed in 2014, and the development of the Seat-Back IFE prototype was added to the agreement. In 2015, Havelsan obtained EASA approval for Wireless IFE and won THY`s Wireless IFE and Tablet IFE tender in 2016. Currently, Havelsan is planning to compete with foreign companies in Seat-Back IFE tenders of Turkish Airlines` new and old aircraft and carry out Line Fit work for Boeing and Airbus platforms. In the first stage, the company won the Seat-Back IFE tender for the 45 aircraft to be added to Turkish Airlines` fleet in 2022.

Turkish Airlines became the first user of the wireless in-flight entertainment system developed by Turkish engineers and technicians in cooperation with Havelsan and Turkish Technic. Thanks to the system implemented in Turkish Airlines` 44 narrow-body passenger aircraft without the Seat-Back screens, passengers can connect to the in-flight entertainment system via their electronic devices (smartphone, tablet, notebook) and display the media content specially prepared for this system. With the wireless in-flight entertainment system, passengers can access more than 250 movies, 700 television programs, and more than 19,000 songs in over 2,000 albums. Passengers can also follow the current flight on the interactive map and access information about the flight.

It was decided upon to continue the work through Cornea Aviation Systems Industry and Trade Inc., a joint venture company of Havelsan and Turkish Technic. The title of the new company has been designated as "Cabin and Air Transport Information Technologies Industry and Trade Inc.," and it is planned to operate in In-Flight entertainment, internet, and civil aviation information technologies. The Company`s customer potential is envisaged to include domestic airlines as well as foreign airlines.

As Havelsan, we have transferred all our products, systems, and projects developed in the field of In-Flight Entertainment Systems to company Cornea along with our IP rights. During the establishment stage, as Havelsan, we will continue to provide Cornea with Technical Support Services, including Software Consultancy and Production Services, for the establishment of software development processes and infrastructures as well as enabling access to Airbus and Boeing companies Seat-Back IFE Product Catalogs. Thus, Cornea will become a major supplier such as Panasonic Avionics and Thales.

As Havelsan, we have registered our production capability with the EASA, an independent and qualified authority in Europe. As a result of this certification process carried out within the framework of the specific rules and requirements of civil aviation, the Seat Electronic Box (SEB) hardware and software produced within the scope of the In-Flight Entertainment Systems (IFE) projects can be used in civil aircraft. Thanks to our cooperation with Cornea on Hardware Design and Production for Civil Aviation, it will be possible to increase product diversity and quantity in the future. We have the opportunity to extend our production capacity for different products and product components through productization studies. However, companies such as Agusta Westland and Sikorsky, and platforms such as the A400M, also request this document for military platform production. Havelsan is the 7th company that received the Production Organization authority in our country (Aspilsan, Selex, TCI-Turkish Cabin Interior, TSI-Aviation Seats, Turkish Technic, and Turkish Aerospace).

Aviation Turkey: Havelsan developed the Boeing 737-800NG Full Flight Simulator and delivered it to Turkish Airlines (EASA) with a CS-FSTD-A FFS Level D certificate. In this regard, can you inform us about the projects carried out with Turkish Airlines and other airlines?

Ahmet Hamdi Atalay: Our B737-800 NG simulator, which was delivered to Turkish Airlines at the end of 2017, was obtained the EASA Level D certificate at the beginning of 2018 and started to be used in pilot training. Thus, our first business relationship with Turkish Airlines within the scope of civilian simulators developed in late 2018, is further strengthened with a contract to procure an additional 11 simulators.

The simulators we will produce for THY are currently in the development and production phase, and we will deliver the first system at the beginning of 2020. Subsequently, the delivery of other simulators is planned for the middle of 2021. In light of our experiences, we have new relationships in which we offer our proposals in line with the demands of both domestic and international airline companies and training organizations. As Havelsan, we will definitely take part in the developing market of Civil Aviation Simulators.

Aviation Turkey: You are working with the General Directorate of State Airports Authority (DHMİ) and TÜBİTAK on Air Traffic Control and Airport Surveillance Radar Simulators. Can you give us information about your capabilities and R&D studies in this field?

Ahmet Hamdi Atalay: Air Traffic Control and Airport Surveillance Radar Simulator is a simulation system that can meet basic and advanced training needs. It supports all levels of Air Traffic and Airport control. Basic training, Advanced training, Procedure training, Traffic scenarios, etc., can be divided into phases. Our simulator is designed to be extended up to 360° in software and hardware with a 3-dimensional visual system where day, night, weather, and seasonal effects can be observed.

Together with TÜBİTAK, the deliveries of the atcTRsimsimulator to Esenboğa Aviation Academy and Istanbul Atatürk Airport Training Center have been successfully completed, and the system became operational. Our simulator is used effectively both in the training process of controller candidates and in airspace optimization studies. For example, during the design process of the Istanbul Airport airspace, the real environment was simulated with virtual traffic through our simulator, and the problems that might occur in the airspace at the opening of the Istanbul Airport were foreseen and corrected.

In addition to airports, in October 2018, a separate simulator was also offered to Nişantaşı University students.

Traffic scenarios and exercises can be prepared flexibly on the simulator, voice communication can be established between the pilot-controller and the controller-controller, and the air and ground vehicles can be controlled with the help of the pilot application.

In Air Traffic Control and Airport Surveillance Radar simulation training, each station can work individually or in groups of any number of positions when necessary to provide individual or sectoral work opportunities. Therefore, the Air Traffic Control and Airport Surveillance Radar studies can be carried out independently of each other and with the integration between the two systems, an exercise run from the radar simulator or the airport control simulator can be displayed in another system in accordance with the date, flight route, flight phase, flight plan information to provide service integrity by running the tower, approach and road control stations at the same time.

Aviation Turkey: What are your goals and activities in the field of civil aviation for global markets? What can you say about Havelsan`s vision for the future?

Ahmet Hamdi Atalay: As Havelsan, we have presented the solutions that we have gained in the military sector with our local and national capabilities to our country with our Boeing 737 NG Full Flight Simulator, which we delivered to Turkish Airlines about two years ago. As a continuation of this, we also continue to manufacture 11 simulators for Turkish Airlines` A320 and Boeing 737 MAX platforms, 5 of which are Full Flight Simulators. With the strong reference of Turkish Airlines, a leading brand in civil aviation, we have focused on business development and marketing activities abroad, as well. In this field, where we compete under heavier competition conditions compared to the military sector, we aim to provide an advantage over our competitors with our quality, different payment terms spread over longer periods, and after-sales support. In this context, we plan to continue not only with direct sales but also with different types of cooperation and partnership models.

Aviation Turkey: Will Havelsan carry out any activity in the establishment and operation of a national training center in areas such as pilot training, ATC, and Maintenance technician training in civil aviation?

Ahmet Hamdi Atalay: Civil aviation is developing at a very high speed due to the increasing demand for air travel not only in our country but also worldwide. With the new destinations established in parallel with the increased number of airports, various new aircraft of different types are joining airline fleets. Consequently, the increase in sectoral employment also causes an increase in training requirements for qualified personnel. Contrary to this rate, there is no increase in the number and capacity of centers providing training to related staff members. In Turkey, this demand cannot be met sufficiently. Although there are numerous simulators and training systems in the training fleet, many airlines operating in our country, including Turkish Airlines, meet this demand from established training centers abroad. I can state that the need to add new ones to the few specialized education centers in our country as soon as possible has emerged as a need. As Havelsan, we do not have a plan to assume this responsibility on our own, but we want to support new training centers that will open with different types of partnerships and investment models. In this regard, we are in talks with several domestic and foreign investors.

Aviation Turkey: Do you have a plan to establish and operate an Integrated Simulation Center of Excellence (Aircraft, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, and ATC) that will address and manage the threats posed by the unmanned aerial vehicles, which have become one of the most significant problems of aviation security?

Ahmet Hamdi Atalay: It is possible to simulate UAV or drone threats and many other scenarios in a realistic way in numerous simulator systems we have delivered to date. Havelsan develops and provides simulators of all types of air, land, and sea platforms in the inventory of our security forces in line with the demands and needs of the Turkish Armed Forces. We also develop and deliver simulators of weapons and defense systems in the TAF inventory. We have the infrastructure for all our simulators to work together in a joint operational environment. For example, with our F-16 simulators, large-scale drill and operational preparations can be carried out in a networked manner. In this context, we also have integrated simulations with the ability to provide networking between various military bases. We have developed our indigenous Tactical Environment Simulation product with the experience gained from all our previous simulator projects. As you have mentioned, with this product, we have developed a simulation capability that includes simulations of aircraft, helicopters, various UAVs, air traffic control towers, air defense systems, drone threats, and human behavior. Additionally, we deliver this simulation capability by further developing each product within each simulator center we provide. It is also possible to construct them as a separate simulation center. Havelsan has the capability to establish all kinds of simulation centers, from system training to tactical purposes.

Aviation Turkey: Can you inform us about your approach to develop and produce basic simulation products that can be used before and at the beginning of flight training to encourage and promote flight training?

Ahmet Hamdi Atalay: In this regard, we continue our efforts to develop more practical and cost-effective solutions by using our experience in modeling and simulation with the R&D and P&D projects that we have developed with our own resources, as well as taking advantage of significant technologies such as games, artificial intelligence, AR, VR, and MR which have become a trend today.

Aviation Turkey: Do you have any strategy for Havelsan to split especially its military and civil aviation activities into two organizations, as in the case of Airbus Military and Airbus?

Ahmet Hamdi Atalay: In the current situation, I believe that there is no need to make such a change in our organization. However, I would like to emphasize that as Havelsan, we have the flexibility to make the necessary changes in our organization and our processes when needed, in case of further development of the market and increasing demands from abroad.

Aviation Turkey: Mr. Atalay, thank you very much for giving us your time...

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