Electro-thermal ice protection systems made by UK company GKN Aerospace (Chalet G1-3) have been selected for every major aircraft for which electric de-icing systems have been specified, according to senior vice president of sales and marketing Frank Bamford. Applications for which the GKN system has been chosen to-date include the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Boeing 787 and EH101 medium/heavy lift helicopter.
“The system combines simplicity, versatility and ruggedness,” said Bamford. “It has endless airframe applications and brings many performance benefits.”
Instead of using engine bleed air as the hot air de-icing source, electro-thermal systems use heater mats made of advanced composites embedded into the surface, each surface being monitored individually by an electronic controller. Heat can be locally targeted, which Bamford said is necessary for today’s complex critical wing and rotor designs. Fuel consumption and maintenance are reduced significantly, he added.
“We’re looking at a number of other applications including wing leading edge, engine and nacelle ice protection for a range of future commercial aircraft,” he said.