Air Transport World

Sextant: all together now. (French avionics company, Sextant Avionique) (Company Profile)

Meudon-la-Foret, France--Sextant Avionique, the company formed by the 1989 merging of four of the country's major players, has given the French avionics industry considerably more muscle to flex on the world aerospace scene. Sextant claims to be the biggest avionics company in continental Europe and among the first four or five in the world. Its management is determined not to let those places slip.

Sextant was established from the aviation-electronics arms of Aerospatiale subsidiaries Crouzet, EAS and SFENA, and the general avionics arm of Thomson CSF. It has headquarters here on a new industrial complex to the south of Paris and research and manufacturing facilities scattered throughout the country.

Two main aims of the amalgamation were to strengthen the overall French technological and marketing effort in avionics--seen here as the biggest future expansion area in aerospace--and to end wasteful duplication and competition.

The new company embraces a wide range of disciplines, from fly-by-wire to inertial-navigation systems; from flight-management systems to on-board maintenance; from liquid-crystal displays to computers. One of its latest proposals is an open-ended avionics suite for the future European 100-seat airliner.

Shareholders are Aerospatiale and Thomson CSF, with 53%, and the Paris stock exchange with the remainder. …

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