THALES and Xsight form strategic partnership to reduce FOD

Xsight press release

Thales announced the formation of a strategic partnership with Xsight Systems Ltd. under which Thales will globally market Xsight’s FODetect® debris detection systems. FODetect is an advanced sensor and processing system which detects and characterizes foreign objects found on airport movement surfaces enabling the proactive removal of debris which poses a threat to aircraft, operations personnel and passengers. FOD, or Foreign Object Debris, includes aircraft parts, rocks, pavement pieces, garbage, ash, tools, catering items, luggage wheels and wildlife among many other objects. FOD are most commonly found at the airplane stand but occur on taxiways and runways as well.

The system was designed from the start to target the airport FOD market taking into consideration the key challenges for deploying and operating systems at busy airports. A recent study estimates that routine damage from FOD results represent US$1.1 Bn in direct cost to airlines operating at the top 300 airports, excluding associated indirect costs and rare, but expensive, hull loss events.

FODetect provides airports with the most advanced and effective system available today for continuous detection of runway and taxiway debris. A centralized data processing system detects debris, generates alerts and provides tools to investigate detections – ensuring a rapid response to FOD events. FODetect’s unique distributed architecture leverages existing runway and taxiway infrastructure for power and communications. Small, rugged multi-sensor units, based on radar and electro-optic technology, are integrated with runway edge lights or installed close to the runway edge.

Thales will market FODetect® as a stand-alone system as well as integrated into its EUROCAT-S A-SMGCS processing and display system. EUROCAT-S is specifically designed to address the automation part of the A-SMGCS concept as described by the ICAO A-SMGCS manual. The central objective of the system is to support the safe, orderly and expeditious movement of aircraft and vehicles on an airport, under all circumstances, whatever the traffic density, visibility conditions and complexity of the airport layout. Alerts raised by FODetect can be presented directly to the controller on the EUROCAT-S controller working position enabling them to address FOD issues as part of their real-time decision-making.

Paul Kahn, Vice President and Managing Director of Thales’s Navigation and Airport Solutions Business Line, stated: “We are delighted to partner with Xsight and market their advanced FOD detection system. FODetect complements our existing Airport Solutions portfolio and increases our ability to help customers improve airport safety and efficiency”.

“The potential financial savings associated with elimination of FOD damage are enormous,” states Alon Nitzan, CEO of Xsight Systems Ltd. “Our partnership with Thales will enable to reach airports all around the world and push this innovative new technology into the marketplace faster.”

FODetect is currently under evaluation at Boston Logan International Airport. EUROCAT-S is deployed around the world at more that 15 airports, including many major international airports such as Frankfurt, New Bangkok International Airport (NBIA), Incheon, Toulouse, Lyon and Munich.

Thales is among the world leaders in Air Traffic Management systems and civil radars and holds more than 70% share in navigation aids market. Thales offers an integrated gate-to-gate solution, from pre-flight to landing, ensuring airport safety, efficient traffic handling operations, data sharing on aircraft and seamless handover operations between territories.

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