FMS Suppliers (Was: Safety)

From: (Ken Jongsma)
Date:         16 Dec 92 14:00:43 PST
References:   1 2 3
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>>The FMS's used on these airplanes are generally done by Honeywell, except
>>that Boeing's using Smiths Industries for the 737, for some reason.

Perhaps because Smiths offered a better product at the time? Perhaps because
Boeing does not want to depend on one supplier for all it's FMS design?

>Boeing recently made a substantial change to the FMS on new 737s, and
>offers a retrofit kit for older new-generation 737s.  I believe this
>was a replacement ... perhaps away from Smiths?  Having observed the
>trials and tribulations of friends with MGs and their Smiths electrics
>I'm not enthusiastic about a Smiths FMS!  :-)

Ohh... It helps to know a bit about the corporate history before one
makes comments like "Smiths electrics."

OK. The division of Smiths that makes the 737 FMS is located in Grand
Rapids, Michigan. Prior to being purchased by Smiths a few years back,
it used to be known as Lear Siegler, Inc. (LSI) and was originally
formed by Bill Lear, the designer of the Lear Jet.

All of the FMS work that this division does was initiated well before
SI bought the division, so references to UK product lines aren't really

Some history on the 737 FMS. The original 737-300 FMS was based on work
done for the 727 and early 737s (Performance Data Computer) and a system
that was not fielded called the PNCS.

A few years ago, along with Update 4 of the software, the "Eagle" FMS
hardware was fielded. It had a faster processor and more memory. More
recently, Update 6 came with additional memory. I assume this is the 
update you were refering to.

Next month, the "Dual" FMS will be shipped. This system is a 4 MCU,
two computer system. 

In addition to commercial FMSs, SI also makes the Nav System for all
600+ USAF C-130s. This same system has been installed on some international

(Although I work on the military side of the house, I checked with our
commercial people to verify the above. Obligatory Disclaimer: I speak
for myself...)


Ken Jongsma                                          
Smiths Industries                     
Grand Rapids, Michigan