Proven Performance in the Harshest Environments
With more than 30 years of experience designing and certifying Electronic Engine Controls (EEC) for commercial, business, cargo, and military aircraft across an installed base of more than 30,000 engines, no one offers more capability, reliability, and customer value than BAE Systems. Attaching directly to the engine, our control systems experience continuous exposure to the harshest environments – incorporating design elements that mitigate risk factors is essential to the operation and safety of the aircraft. For optimal performance in these extreme conditions, our products incorporate design, development, and manufacturing techniques based on extensive analysis and understanding of field performance data. We continuously implement new technology to extend the product lifecycle, and increase the reliability and safety of our products. We are unmatched in the development and through-life support of Electronic Engine Controls with proven performance on both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft for commercial and military applications.
Developing Capabilities for the Future
We are focusing on the future by developing capabilities for the next generation of aircraft, leveraging our expertise to reduce size, weight, and life-cycle cost, while increasing functionality and performance. Our engine systems will be key enablers for future aircraft with capabilities such as hypersonic flight, autonomy, hybrid and all-electric propulsion, use of sustainable aviation fuel, and predictive maintenance.
Why customers choose our Electronic Engine Controls
From advanced digital controls designed to optimize performance on the ground and in the air, protected by multiple redundancy safeguards, to global maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) support that can help contain costs and extend product life, we have a proven record of performance, system integration, and on-time delivery that our customers know they can count on.
Our full range of development, manufacturing, and support capabilities:
- Engine system design and development
- Flight-worthy prototypes in a dedicated development shop
- State-of-the-art production facilities
- Full aftermarket support
Our comprehensive engine system products and capabilities include:
- Full Authority Digital Engine Controls (FADEC)
- Advanced supervisory controls
- Power distribution and management
- Power system monitors
- Motor controls
- Thrust reverser monitors and controls
- Electronic aircraft interface units
- Prognostics and vibration monitoring units
- Cables and harnesses
More than 30 years of experience providing innovative electronics.
- Regulate and optimize engine performance on more than 30,000 engines
- 6,000 new engine controls delivered yearly
- More than 1.5 billion hours on our engine controls in service today
- 6,500+ repairs, upgrades, and overhauls performed yearly
- Delivering our fourth generation FADEC Systems
Our FADECs are the brains behind the brawn on engines that power today’s and tomorrow’s aircraft.
- Commercial aircraft: AW-189; 717, 737, 737MAX, 747, 757, 767, 777, 787, MD11; A310, A318, A319, A320, A320neo, A321, A330, A340, A380; 170/190, 7000/8000
- Military aircraft: AH-64, F/A-18: F-16: B-2: UH/MH-60, CH-53
- Aircraft in development: C919, 777X
We deliver a unique advantage with flight-critical electronic overhauls.
- Our comprehensive process helps customers prolong the life, extend the warranty, and lower the overall cost of ownership for flight critical electronics.
- We restore electronic components to meet our extensive original equipment manufacturer quality standards and extend the product life cycle.
What are electronic engine and digital engine controls?
Just as today’s automobiles have onboard electronic systems to increase engine efficiency, reliability, and safety, while reducing the driver’s workload, modern aircraft utilize Electronic Engine Controls (EEC) or Engine Control Units (ECU) to do the same. The EEC is an electronic control, mounted on the engine or engine fan case, drawing power from an engine alternator to receive data from sensors measuring pilot commands and monitoring flight and engine conditions such as throttle position, fuel flow, temperature, vibration, and pressure. The control unit continuously analyzes data inputs and sends commands to effectors, such as fuel meters and fan vane actuators, to control engine performance and provide the desired thrust while keeping the engine within safe and efficient operating parameters. EEC have the ability to automatically detect failures within the aircraft, engine or the control unit itself and are designed to mitigate these failures through backup functions or reverting to a safe operating state. Any failures that occur are communicated to the pilot and recorded allowing maintenance personnel to further investigate any potential issues.
Electronic Engine Controls can be traditional analog controls using only analog circuitry to calculate the required control algorithms or modern Digital Engine Controls (DEC), which use analog circuitry to process the inputs and outputs, incorporating a processor along with software to perform the logic functions. Simple control functions may still be implemented using analog circuitry in modern controls. Still, the complex control functions required on today’s engines can be performed much more efficiently and cost-effectively utilizing modern digital control technology. Another advantage of DEC is it contains digital memory to store data (such as operating parameters and fault records) that is downloadable for operational record keeping and prognostics, and maintenance activities.
What is the difference between Digital Engine Controls and Full Authority Digital Engine Controls?
A Digital Engine Controls (DEC) typically refers to Electronic Engine Controls utilizing a processor to perform logic functions with limited authority over the engine. With DEC, the pilot controls the engine performance via mechanical linkage connecting the throttle to the engine, and provides “fine-tuning” in addition to the pilot’s control. The digital controls increase engine efficiency and reduce the pilot workload without having complete control of the engine. Full Authority Digital Engine Controls (FADEC), on the other hand, has the full authority or complete control of the engine. In a FADEC system, the pilot’s throttle provides analog or digital input, and uses this input along with other sensor inputs to generate outputs to solenoids, motors, actuators, and other effectors that control the engine performance. Modern FADEC systems further reduce the pilot’s workload and enable safer and more efficient operation of the engine and aircraft.
Where are FADEC used?
While some general aviation aircraft still utilize analog engine controls or even mechanical engine controls, Full Authority Digital Engine Controls (FADEC) systems are in most commercial, cargo, and military aircraft all over the world. Modern FADEC systems reduce the pilot’s workload and enable safer and more efficient operation for today’s complex engine systems. Digital Engine Controls that do not have full authority control are only present today on older variants of these aircraft types. Many of these older aircraft in both commercial and military service are being retrofitted with modern engines utilizing FADEC to provide the additional functionality, performance, fuel efficiency, and emission improvements required to make it feasible to extend the life of these aircraft.
What is the history of Electronic Engine Controls and FADEC?
Electronic engine controls followed the same technical growth path as other electronics. During and shortly after World War II, electronic controls replaced mechanical engine controls – especially as jet engines replaced piston engines – but engines were still dependent on pilots and crew to adjust for flight and operating conditions. Analog engine controls continued to evolve throughout the 1960s, and improvements further reduced pilot workloads and improved safety and efficiency. Digital engine controls provided a step-change in engine control performance, and functionality as advances in microcomputers and digital circuit design expanded capabilities, increased reliability, and enabled control of larger, more powerful, efficient, and complex engines. Full Authority Digital Engine Controls (FADEC) first entered into service on aircrafts in 1987 and were increasingly adopted for military and commercial use in the years following. BAE Systems was one of the pioneers in early electronic engine control development and today is a world leader in the design, development, and production of state-of-the-art FADEC systems.