United Parcel Service UPS Airlines is to undertake a major flight deck upgrade of its fleet of 52 Airbus A300-600R freighters.

A new instrumentation package—announced May 15 by UPS, Airbus and Honeywell—will be based around a Honeywell Primus Epic avionics package. The package includes new LCD displays, a new-generation flight management system (FMS), improved 3-D weather radar, a central maintenance system, and a new integrated version of the current Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System.

No value of the upgrade contract was released.

The UPS aircraft were delivered from 2000 to 2006. The modernized flight deck will extend the fleet’s useful life to 2035—and even then the aircraft will not have reached the maximum allowable number of cycles. Typically, each aircraft only completes two to three cycles in a 24-hour period, relatively light usage for an aircraft of this type.

UPS uses the aircraft for medium-haul, heavy-lift duties out to 2,000 nm (3,700 km or 2,300 miles). It can take a maximum payload of 120,000 lbs., which equates to roughly 14,000 “next-day air packages,” packed in 22 containers on the main deck, plus a further seven in the underfloor hold.

UPS has been considering an upgrade for three years, the company’s avionics & systems engineering division manager Kevin O’Hara said. “The straw that broke the camel’s back” and triggered the go-ahead decision was the aircraft’s limited navigation database, which needed manual loading of data for international flights. The new FMS will support a worldwide navigation database and Future Air Navigation System.

The first aircraft will enter the modification process at Airbus’s Toulouse, France, factory in 2019, with certification anticipated in 2020. The final aircraft is scheduled to receive the upgrade around August 2022.

It has not yet been decided where subsequent aircraft will be upgraded, but may be in more than one location.

As well as integrating the engineering effort to install the new package, Airbus will supply a modification service bulletin and modification kit, including all parts required to modify the aircraft.

Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com