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New Thales IMU product gains certification

Mar 06. 2017 

The TopAxyz Airborne Solution from Thales has been simultaneously certified by the civil aviation authorities in Europe, the United States, Canada and Brazil. Based on the TopAxyz latest-generation inertial measurement unit, the new product is now ready for prime time — and has already been selected for the ATR 42/72-600 regional airliner and the Embraer KC-390 military transport plane.

Thales began developing inertial navigation systems over 30 years ago, and large numbers of aircraft rely on them today, from the Mirage 2000 and MiG-29 fighters to the C-130 military transport and Tiger helicopter — not to mention the Ariane 5 space rocket. Thales's new-generation IMUs, developed in the last 10 years, have been selected for the A350 XWB, KC-390 and ATR-600.

All of these systems are based on the TopAxyz family of IMUs and comprise a three-axis laser gyroscope in a single, compact monobloc unit for guaranteed performance and extended lifespan. The TopAxyz architecture is unlike any other in the world, with two data channels instead of the single channel used by other systems. A navigation channel is dedicated to attitude, heading, airspeed and position calculation. A second channel, called the stabilisation channel, is optimised to provide low-latency, low-noise acceleration and rotation inputs without impacting the bandwidth needed by the fly-by-wire system or the visual sighting instruments and ancillaries.

As a result, the IMU can perform navigation and stabilisation tasks simultaneously with no trade-off in performance. An airline pilot, for example, no longer has to choose between the comfort of the passengers and the responsive controls and manoeuvrability of fly-by-wire — the system takes care of both, resulting in a smoother flight all round.

TopAxyz’s high levels of performance and dependability, combined with easy maintenance, were decisive factors in its selection by Airbus, ATR and Embraer.

Today, this flurry of official certifications (ETSO in Europe, TSO in the United States and Canada, OTP in Brazil) further underscores the maturity of Thales's inertial navigation solutions for civil and military platforms.

Find out more about TopAxyz: TopAxyz product information

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