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Institute of Aircraft Equipment (NIIAO)

The Institute of Aircraft Equipment (NIIAO) was formed in 1983 on the basis of the Affiliate of the Flight Research Institute and the joined Specialized Design Bureau of the Flight Research Institute under the Central Committee and the Council of Ministers' Decree dated December 31, 1982. The NIIAO establishment was announced by the Ministery of Aviation Industry Order No.99 dated February 24, 1983. This date is treated as the Institute's birthday.

The electrical engineering department at the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) created in 1932 was the first organization cell for fundamental work performed to develop systems of aircraft equipment. In 1933 the department was reorganized to an airplane equipment team.

In 1942 most engineers of the team were transferred into a aircraft equipment complex (Complex 4) at the newly formed Flight Research Institute (LII). In 1955 the complex received a large group of engineers from the Research Institute of Airplane Equipment (NIISO). Soon Laboratory 47 was organized in Complex 4 to develop equipment for cosmonaut workstations of future spacecraft. It was this laboratory which designed equipment for the "Vostok-1" spacecraft and a simulator for training Yuri Gagarin.

In 1959 the LII Complex 4 was reorganized to the LII Affiliate which was established as a leading aircraft equipment enterprise in the aviation industry. The famous scientist in aircraft electrical power N.Koroban was appointed the Affiliate's director, and V.Suchkov became the Affiliate's chief engineer. V.Suchkov headed later the Affiliate from 1965 to 1983.

All navigation, flight control and electrical power equipment installed on passenger, transport and military aircraft designed within the period from 1959 to 1980 was being created to the Affiliate's recommendations and ground and flight tested on its engineering simulators and flying testbeds.

In 1968 a Specialized Design Bureau headed by S.Darevsky was formed from Laboratory 47. In 1972 the Bureau was removed from LII under the Central Committee and the Council of Ministers' Decree and established to be a leading enterprise in developing cosmonaut workstations equipment for piloted spacecraft, as well as cosmonaut training simulators.

When NIIAO was formed, highly skilled scientists in navigation, automatic control and ergonomics, as well as experienced engineers for all types of aircraft equipment were transferred from the LII Affiliate. The Bureau joined to NIIAO employed experienced designers of cosmonaut workstations equipment for piloted spacecraft and full-flight training simulators.

The MG for Aviation, Candidate of Technical Sciences A.Polsky (the head of aircraft equipment test department at the Air Forces Institute from 1960 to 1974, the deputy director at the Flight Research Institute from 1974 to 1983) was appointed NIIAO director. B.Abramov was appointed the NIIAO Director from 1990 to 2005).

The Ministery of Aviation Industry's Order dated August 2, 1983 assigned NIIAO to be a leading industry organization in aviation ergonomics.

In 1987 the Academic Board was established at NIIAO and now is held periodically. 17 Doctor theses and 10 Candidate theses were defended at the Academic Board. Presently, 9 Doctors of Science and 47 Candidates of Science are working at NIIAO.

In 2005 V.Chernyshov was appointed NIIAO Director General.

Today NIIAO is a leading science and production establishment of the aerospace industry in research, development and in-service maintenance of integrated systems of airborne equipment for passenger and transport airplanes and helicopters and also equipment of cosmonaut workstations and simulators for cosmonaut training for flights on piloted spacecraft.


The need for creating the Institute of Aircraft Equipment arose from the essential difference in the operational performance between home-made and foreign airborne equipment of passenger aircraft and from reasonable consolidation of efforts of aircraft equipment engineers and designers of cosmonaut workstations for piloted spacecraft.

The Minister of Aviation Industry (MAI) I.Silayev was a chief initiator and organizer of the Institute.

The following missions were assigned to NIIAO by the MAI's Order of January 26, 1983:

  • generating the evolution concepts and the character of integrated systems of aircraft equipment;
  • coordinating research in aircraft equipment conducted by aviation organizations and enterprises and allied industries;
  • developing long-term progress predictions for suites and systems of aircraft equipment based on ground ATC, navigation and landing control facilities;
  • preparing recommendations for simulation system design and ground-based development of aircraft equipment at industry enterprises; and
  • fully performing the tasks assigned earlier to the Special Design Bureau in the field of piloted spacecraft.

However, the NIIAO's functions had been actively discussed since the first days of the Institute organization. Many MAI managers and experts, including one of the deputies of the Minister of Aviation Industry and the head of the 10th Administration Board, upheld the "pure science" concept. They believed that NIIAO was to conduct research in full acordance with the tasks listed in the ministery order to prepare for aircraft designers recommendations concerning aircraft design and construction principles, but not to be involved in aircraft development.

I.Silayev and the chief designers G.Novozhilov and A.Tupolev thought that the Institute would justify its purpose and gain the right to be the leader in the industry, when it became responsible for the development and retrofit of the next new generation equipment for future passenger aircraft.

Therfore, I.Silayev decided to commission NIIAO to lead the development of the first home-made integrated systems of standard digital flight control and navigation equipment for a new generation of passenger airplanes, such as IL-96-300, TU-204 and IL-114. In January, 1984 this solution was approved by the Military Industry Commission of the Presidium of the USSR Council of Ministers in Decree No.27 dated January 27, 1984.

The work entrusted to NIIAO by these solutions evoked the institute personnel's prodigious labor enthusiasm. The personnel intensively worked in the evenings and dayoffs, ignoring their personal time. Already in February, 1986 the first line of a unique integrated simulation system designed by NIIAO engineers was entered into service.

Integrated avionics systems for IL-96-300 and TU-204 aircraft were produced in a short time (five years!) together with some enterprises of aviation, radio and electronics industries. In 1989 IL-96-300 and TU-204 aircraft with these systems installed were demonstrated at Air Show in Paris (Le Bourget) and since 1993-1995 the integrated systems have been successfully operated on IL-96-300 and TU-204. An integrated avionics system has been developed and is being operated on IL-114 aircraft.

In 1984 a IL-96-300 flightdeck was demonstrated at Le Bourget, and it showed the benefits of home-made digital flight control and navigation equipment. French pilots who took part in a A310 demonstration flight (Toulouse) were among visitors. After having been introduced in details with the equipment operation and an excited conversation with our test pilot L.Knyshov, one French pilot asked how long a working day had lasted for our engineers so they had been able to develop, manufacture and put into operation such a complicated equipment in a such a very short time. "26 hours per day" was joked back.

The experience obtained in operation of developed equipment proved the thruth of the selected concept and solutions implemented in integrated systems of flight control and navigation equipment and showed that the functionality and operational performance of home-made systems are on par with those of the systems operated on A310, B757 and B767.

When developing integrated avionics systems, NIIAO has been solving the following technical challenges:

  • international standards, including ARINC, have been adopted to domestic manufacturing environment, and formed the basis of specifications for over twenty new systems and devices which were developed by eleven design bureaus and institutes of four ministeries;
  • system design technology for digital avionics systems has been developed and accomodated, including loop design, that implement integration functions, fail-safety evaluation, configuring, total performance and cost-effectiveness determination for alternative system options, and, finally, best system structure selection;
  • all required regulatory documentation has been developed and approved for digital equipment and component certification, system software verification and certification, as well as preliminary and interdepartmental tests to issue airworthiness certificates prior to installation;
  • function program design procedures have been developed and accomodated for display systems and controls, a flight warning system and a ground proximity warning system;
  • FMS and EFIS/EICAS high-level language SW automatic design systems have been developed, produced and put into operation;
  • functioning policy has been developed, and a failure isolation system has been designed and applied in commercial production;
  • NIIAO has developed and produced a unique simulation system which has implemented comprehensive simulation and development techniques for a integrated digital flight control and navigation system (with a flight crew) under simulated real flight conditions, and system fail-safety certification procedures;
  • a theory has been developed and formed the basis for ergonomic design of information display system and controls configuration at pilots' workstations in a cockpit, and a dedicated system has been created to fairly assess crewmember action intensity in all flight modes; and
  • NIIAO has managed a special service which provides in-service maintenance of integrated avionics systems.

The production and introduction of the first generation of home-made digital flight control and navigation systems proved that Russian avionics complies with international standard requirements, and prepared a scientific and technical foundation and also the Institute personnel for the next major step in developing Russian avionics.

In 1990 NIIAO initiated a R&D plan for the next generation home-made avionics. Research performed by the Institute enabled the development of the second generation digital avionics, namely an IKBO-95 integrated system of airborne equipment (similar to the integrated avionics suite developed by Honeywell for B777), to be started already in 1993 in cooperation with foreign companies.

This system based on advanced LCD and high-performance microprocessor technologies meets all up-to-date international requirements. The IKBO-95 development provided for and implemented a step-by-step upgrade of earlier integrated avionics by using systems incorporated into IKBO-95. In 2001 the IKBO-95 system was certified on a Be-200 aircraft, and a upgraded KSPNO-204 on a TU-214 aircraft. Currently, CPNK-114 upgrading is being completed on a Il-114 aircraft, and Il-96-300 and Tu-204 integrated systems are being upgraded from the IKBO-95 development results.

A number of new engineering solutions, which satisfy the principal provisions of the current integrated modular avionics concept, has been implemented in the IKBO-95 design, including:

  • high integration of central computer systems by changing to the employment of cabinet structures and unified computer modules;
  • usage of large flat-panel full-color LCD screens;
  • usage of an integrated flight management system and intelligent control panels; and
  • fast modification of system function algorithms and software with a data loader (without hardware modification).

NIIAO has created a necessary infrastructure to provide a closed loop of computer-assisted avionics system design and development technology. The infrastructure includes:

  • a computer center which provides an automatic design system (ADS) for system configuration and structure selection, software design, testing and verification ADS, mathematical simulation, calculations for evidence documentation release (failure analysis, aircraft separation safety probability estimates, navigation and landing accuracy determination, etc.);
  • an authorized environment test center for testing in accordance with Airworthiness Requirements for Airplanes (AR-3) and DO-160C(D), including electromagnetic compatibility tests; and
  • a simulation system which provides systems interface and crew-system interface optimization.
The Institute focuses on providing an integrated development, test and production quality control system as required by international standards and rules, such as ART 4754, DO-178B, DO-160C, ISO-9000.

This infrastructure allows the entire cycle of development, improvement and certification to be provided at the high technological level for integrated avionics systems created by the Institute.

As of 2008 NIIAO was completing the development of a third generation integrated avionics system, IKBO-2005. The main principles, on which the IKBO-2005 design relies, are:

  • further higher hardware and function integration of computer systems, sensors, independent radio navigation systems;
  • modularity of primary computer systems based on a networked information management system with shared resources and high-speed (up to 1 Gbit/s) data buses;
  • a single information management space, which combines an information display system, an interactive user-friendly man-machine interface, and a distributed information expert system, providing a crew with all required information and recommendations at all stages of preflight preparation, in-flight and post-flight service;
  • an open architecture, that allows IKBO-2005 succession to provide upgrade of existing civil and transport aircraft, including IKBO-95 upgrade;
  • intradesign and interdesign unification of both hardware and software within not only the integrated system of flight control, navigation and communication equpment, but also the aircraft control system, utilities control, intercom and passenger information facilities; and
  • application of new engineering solutions in electronics and information technologies.

While relying on the development experience acquired for integrated digital equipment of passenger airplanes and employing commercial devices incorporated into the IKBO-95 system, NIIAO has launched the development and introduction of an integrated system of flight control, navigation and communication equipment for helicopters intended to service OAO "Gazprom" facilities (offshore rigs and sea ships) in the Barents and Kara Seas with required regularity and safety in any daytime under IFR conditions.

As compared with existing Russian helicopters which service offshore rigs and sea ships with 450x2,000 m minima by day and 400x4,000 m at night, helicopters equipped with Institute's integrated systems will perform their tasks with 30x400 m minima. Moreover, radio communication stability will be essentially increased at high latitudes by using adaptive HF communication.

The intagrated avionics system is being developed by NIIAO under the contract with OAO "Gazprom" for new Ka-226AG and Ka-32 AG helicopters.

As of 2008 the NIIAO basic activities included:

  • generating the evolution and character (architecture) concepts for integrated systems of airborne equipment of civil and dual-purpose airplanes and helicopters;
  • preparing required standard and specification documentation for integrated avionics system and SW certification in compliance with international requirements;
  • developing design, engineering and large-scale integration technologies for integrated avionics;
  • providing SW integration for subsystems and devices developed by other companies;
  • developing, retrofitting, testing and verifying integrated avionics systems and their SW at special simulators before installation on aircraft for flight tests;
  • organizing and providing in-operation service of integrated systems;
  • upgrading, if required, integrated avionics systems during their life cycle.


The Specialized Space Engineering Bureau (former the Specialized Design Bureau of the Flight Research Institute) within the Instutute of Aircraft Equipment is engaged in space subjects.

The Bureau successfully coped with the development of an information display system (pilot's panel) for the "Vostok-1" spacecraft and a training simulator for Y. Gagarin training and provided all piloted spacecraft with information display systems, manual control systems and full-flight sumulators for crew training.

The Bureau personnel provided all piloted programs: "Vostok", "Voskhod", "Soyuz", "Mir" orbital station, etc..

NIIAO conducted activities for the "Buran" spaceplane, a "Mir" orbital station, "Soyuz-TM" transport ships and the International Space Station programs. In this period 42 information display systems have been developed, and 23 training simulators have been produced for the Y.Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. NIIAO has been involved in all stages of development and preparation of spacecraft for flights and in cosmonaut training at full-flight simulators.

Basic integrated panels located in all Russian station modules have been developed for the ISS. The panels provide an onboard computer system which displays information on a flat-panel screen. The panels support the interface between a cosmonaut and onboard systems and remote control from a central post of peripheral modules. In addition, warning system panels and space egress panels have been developed and delivered to the station modules.

A new generation basic system called "Neptun-ME" has been produced for the "Soyuz-TMA" spacecraft. The system provides an integrated dual-screen triple-processor information display and control system which supports active interface between cosmonauts and spacecraft systems and computers and also displays television information and converts display information into television signals to be transmitted to the Flight Control Center.

TDK-7ST3, TDK-7ST4 and TS-18 training simulators have been developed and are being placed into operation for "Soyuz-TMA" crew training with up-to-date computer systems and synthetic vision systems.

As of 2008 the NIIAO basic activities included:

  • developing, manufacturing and testing advanced onboard information display systems and controls, panels and units for piloted space complexes;
  • developing the philosophy of integrated information display and man-machine interfaces (panels) for cosmonauts and training simulators;
  • developing the information support and software of man-computer graphic systems for spacecraft operators and training systems;
  • developing the philosophy of a centralized visual and voice warning system and its components;
  • developing design techniques for computer-based information display systems and panels;
  • developing vibration protection techniques for onboard equipment; and
  • developing test procedures and quality factors, including human factors, for information display systems and their components.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 15:49:00 ZULU