The very birthplace of mass civil aviation can be attributed to us and our heritage companies that developed a number of world firsts. Most notably perhaps is the first commercial jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet. The Comet was the precursor to most conventional jet airliners you see today, departing from airports across the globe. Its inception would be the catalyst for a rich shared history between us and civil aviation as we took on the pivotal role of making the controls that aircraft use to fly passengers every day.
At BAE Systems, we continue to develop and innovate the vital controls that are trusted by major aircraft suppliers worldwide. Planes enabled by our critical flight systems are taking off and landing every second around the globe.
“It’s a rewarding feeling knowing that the innovative work our technologists and engineers do every day directly contributes to global travel,” said Dr Ehtisham Siddiqui, vice president of Controls and Avionics Solutions at BAE Systems. “We’ve had an illustrious partnership with the civilian aviation industry for decades, developing vital new technology that makes flying safer, faster, and more affordable.”
When it came time to push the envelope further, we answered the call by developing the world’s first flight control system for a civil supersonic airliner.
As the 20th century pressed on and the world demanded digital, we ensured civil aviation kept up, developing the first ever digital flight control system and first ever fly-by-wire system. Going digital helped to modernise aircraft, greatly reducing weight and manufacturing costs, and opening up air travel to more people.
Today we continue to be at the forefront of innovation in civil aviation, recently achieving the world’s first certification of civil active sticks. Our active sticks provide tactile feedback to the pilot at the grip (think of the resistance you get from a video game controller when you run into an obstacle in a game) without the heavy mechanical linkages of pre-digital aircraft. These active inceptor systems have enhanced safety levels compared to the original mechanical systems they replaced, while offering vast improvements in terms of weight reduction, reduced maintenance, and improved pilot situational awareness.
It’s clear that civil aviation is woven into the fabric of BAE Systems, and we will continue to innovate for those who move the world™.