With many decades of experience in the aerospace industry, BAE Systems announced that they are preparing to offer energy management, avionics and power conversion systems that are scalable and adaptable for aircraft ranging from regional jets to small urban air mobility (UAM) aircraft. 

BAE Systems Regional Aircraft – J31 Air to Air. Photo credit: BAE Systems

BAE Systems plans to offer both fully electric and hybrid electric systems. According to Yesh Premkumar, BAE System’s Business Development/Strategy Lead for Aircraft Electrification, “I think there is merit to both, and as a product supplier, we’re positioning ourselves to be able to play in both as demand and market trends change.”

Additionally, BAE Systems is working in coordination with other companies working in the UAM industry, including Uber Elevate partners, although specifics have not been released. “What Uber and its partners are trying to do is push electric platforms, and we see energy management systems and fly-by-wire/integrated control systems are critical to both safety and successful operation of the platforms,” said Premkumar, “We’re aiming to deliver the most simplified version of a solution that meets the operational needs of the platform without compromising on cost, safety, and reliability.”

BAE Systems Regional Aircraft – RDO Repair in Hangar. Photo Credit: BAE Systems

BAE Systems intends to put out working prototypes by early 2021 for flight tests. According to Premkumar, what BAE Systems envisions in their prototypes is a control system similarly to that of traditional fly-by-wire systems — providing information from aircraft sensors to a flight controller, who sends commands to the surfaces and engine or engine controller — but more compact and integrated, similar to the FBW systems that Honeywell is currently developing. “We believe this will help reduce the number of boxes, improve reliability and economics of the control system.” BAE Systems are also discussing opportunities in the avionics and energy management industries with electric jet startup Wright Electric, according to Premkumar. 

BAE Systems Regional Aircraft – RJ85. Photo Credit: BAE Systems

Why it’s important: BAE Systems plan to offer their products on the market by the mid-2020s, matching the timing of many aerospace companies and startups to begin flight operations in the UAM industry, which would be critical for commercial success. These new

Sources // Aviation Today

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