“We want the subsidy issue to go away. It’s not beneficial to either side,” said Eric Hinson, Honeywell Aerospace’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Hinson’s view on the increasingly bitter feud between Europe and America over government support for airliner programs appears to have nothing to do with politics. It’s pure business.
Honeywell is now involved in no less than 13 systems for the new Airbus A380 and it stands to take an equally significant position on the planned A350 development. By the same token, the U.S. group, which has major operations throughout Europe, has a similar degree of commitment to Boeing’s 787 program.
The scale and diversity of Honeywell’s contributions to the A380 demonstrate that the company is more than just an avionics house and business jet engine maker.
As part of the drive toward the so-called more electric aircraft, Honeywell has made the A380 the first commercial aircraft to use solid-state controls instead of electromechanical circuit breakers for the secondary electric power distribution systems. Quite apart from a weight saving, this system has simplified diagnostics and fault isolation.
More visible contributions to the A380 are the wheels and brakes, for which Honeywell is partnered with the UK’s Dunlop Aviation. Of the 20 main gear wheels, 16 feature brakes. The envisioned freighter version of the A380 will have all main wheels braked to deal with the different loading and weights.
In the cockpit, Honeywell’s flight management system boasts new graphical interfaces with pop-up menus for reduced pilot workload. The company’s all-in-one aircraft environmental surveillance system (AESS) combines the enhanced ground proximity warning system and traffic collision avoidance system, as well as the new RDR-4000 weather radar with volumetric scanning and a new-generation air data inertial reference unit. Honeywell has also provided solid-state flight data and cockpit voice recorders.
The A380’s satellite communication system–for both pilots and passengers–is the first to come from a cooperation between Honeywell and Thales.
Alliance with Hurel-Hispano
In alliance with thrust reverser maker Hurel-Hispano, Honeywell has provided the aircraft’s electromechanical reverser actuation system. This has been deployed on the A380’s initial test flights.
The company has also supplied the following systems for the A380: pneumatic systems, bleed and anti-ice valves for both the Engine Alliance GP7200 and Trent 900 powerplant choices, wing anti-ice valves (provided by new UK acquisition Hymatic, which is a cryogenic specialist), ozone converters and vacuum generators.
“We are very pleased with the trust Airbus has put in us,” commented Hinson. “We are the next biggest suppliers to the A380 after the engine manufacturers.”
Airbus has done a lot more sole-sourcing for systems on the A380. Hinson explained that Honeywell had had to be very competitive to win this position by giving firm cost guarantees, but also in terms of the aftermarket support it provides to operators.
Honeywell is now offering AESS for the A350 and also wants to win the contest to provide wheels and brakes and the environmental controls. The U.S. group also has ambitions to offer a version of AESS for the A400M military transport program. So the last thing in the world it needs right now is a transatlantic trade war.