Eclipse Aviation on Monday named several well-known companies, including Garmin and Honeywell, as new suppliers for the Avio avionics system.
Eclipse announced last week that it had parted ways with its previous supplier, Avidyne, after several delays.
Under the new agreement, which Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn said had been in the works for several months, five new firms will provide components for the Eclipse 500's avionics system.
That combination of hardware and software, which Eclipse has branded Avio, integrates and controls most aspects of the aircraft's flight and provides information to the pilot.
The new suppliers are:
Innovative Solutions & Support. The publicly traded Pennsylvania firm will provide flat-panel displays, which relay flight information, such as airspeed, to pilots.
Chelton Flight Systems, of Lewisville, Texas, will provide the software-based flight management system, or FMS.
Garmin International, of Olathe, Kan., will provide transponders - radio devices that relay aircraft position to controllers on the ground.
Honeywell, of Morristown, N.J., will provide navigation radios and other radio devices, as well as weather radar and a terrain awareness system.
PS Engineering, of Lenoir City, Tenn., will provide control systems for audio components, such as intercoms and in-flight entertainment.
In a conference call with reporters, Raburn said Monday the suppliers would allow Eclipse to sell the Avio system as originally promised, "with some enhancements."
Raburn said the enhancements would include improvements in time between required inspections or component failures, improved system architecture and design, and higher screen resolution and clarity.
"We're really excited and frankly proud to be working with such highly regarded and successful avionics companies," Raburn said. "We look forward to long and successful relationships with each company."
The new system, to be called Avio NG, for "next-generation," will be installed in Eclipse 500 jets beginning about halfway through this year, Raburn said. Aircraft built before an as-yet unspecified date for the new system will have the previous Avidyne avionics installed and will be retrofitted, at no charge.
Raburn said the supplier replacement would "absolutely" not affect Eclipse's planned delivery schedule.
The company, which received Federal Aviation Administration type certification for its $1.5 million jet last year, has been beset recently by internal and supplier delays as it seeks to begin getting aircraft delivered to customers.
Raburn said Eclipse plans to deliver about 400 planes this year, down from a previous estimate of 500. Eclipse will build just under 1,000 planes in 2008, he said.
"In 2009, we'll let the market tell us where to go," he said.
Raburn acknowledged the delays, but characterized them as "to-be-expected start-up challenges," such as miscalculations on how long it would take to get production employees up to speed. The company is also making some engineering and aerodynamic tweaks to improve performance figures, which it also expects to retrofit to aircraft currently under construction.
"There is not extensive or major redesign of the aircraft," he said. "To be brutally honest, it really comes down to we miscalculated the learning curves ... and we had some mistakes in the early design which we're correcting right now."