Pulse news magazine

Volume 31, December 2020

Off the runway: How fleets stay airworthy

BAE Systems makes complex electronics on commercial airplanes.

If you have flown on an airplane, then it’s likely that you have flown on one of more than 30,000 planes with our flight controls, engine controls, or cabin systems.

When you boarded that flight, you were probably pleased if it was on time and cleared maintenance and safety checks. But there are a lot of moving pieces behind the scenes for the airline to keep your flight on time and get you safely to your destination. BAE Systems makes some of the most complex electronics on the plane. And we continue to support those products as a trusted partner to more than 600 airlines worldwide through our Customer Support and Solutions team.

Trusted Partner

As the original equipment manufacturer for flight-critical electronics on an airplane, we help airlines ensure these electronics continue to operate flawlessly, whether they have endured months of wear and tear or have been sitting idle, as many flights have been reduced during the last several months. Our goal is to ensure airline fleets continue to be safe and compliant, while helping them meet aggressive return to service schedules.

“Airlines rely on BAE Systems for product support because of the know-how and expertise we bring as the original equipment manufacturer. And as the OEM, we’ve developed technical support around very complex electronic controls and avionics. Airlines come to us for the same reason airframe manufacturers come to us: We’ve been doing this for a very long time and we’re exceptional at what we do,” said Misbah Qidwai, director of business development for CS&S in the Controls and Avionics Solutions business.

Our customers recognize our expertise and dedication. In July 2020, Aviation Week Network announced that BAE Systems was ranked as the top avionics supplier by our customers in the annual Air Transport Aftermarket Customer Satisfaction Survey. The survey, conducted by Aviation Week Network and AeroDynamic Advisory, gauges the airline community’s satisfaction with OEM aftermarket support. BAE Systems had the highest rating of avionics suppliers in five of the categories: product reliability, technical support, parts cost, parts availability and AOG support.

One of the CS&S team’s most essential services are full authority digital engine controls, or FADEC, overhauls. We deliver 6,000 new engine controls every year. These controls monitor and manage engine performance – reducing cost, driving efficiency, and improving safety of flight. Installed on the fan case of the engine, they are subjected to the most extreme environments, from sub-zero temperatures to sweltering heat. So, keeping these electronics in good working condition is essential to operating the plane. However, performing a FADEC overhaul is a comprehensive process designed to extend the life of the FADEC, and improve system performance, saving the airline operating costs and future repair costs.

The Full Service Solution

Recognizing customers’ needs for agility in the current unpredictable market, BAE systems is changing its service offerings to provide more options. We are focused on bringing customers the things that matter most to their business: time, cost and value-add services, quality, and convenience.

“As the aviation industry continues to face challenging times, BAE Systems is redefining how we approach our aftermarket services. We’re focused on offering the best value and solution to our customers, so we’re adding service offerings, such as asset management and power-by-the-hour contracts,” Qidwai explains, “This includes responsiveness to ensure airlines’ spares inventories are up to date and help them identify provisioning needs.”

As a trusted OEM, our asset management; aircraft-on-ground; and maintenance, repair, and overhaul support teams stand ready with our MRO service centers in Fort Wayne, Indiana; Rochester, UK; and Singapore to support our customers’ continued operations and keep them a step ahead during these unpredictable times.

By Carrie Connors, Communications, Endicott, New York