Breaking Ice in The Local Market
For an MNC like Honeywell, a leader in the aerospace and automation and control solutions businesses, catering to the low cost local market is definitely a challenge. Challenges, however, are meant to be broken and Honeywell Technology Solutions Lab (HTSL), is doing just that.
The first big break came when HTSL has responded with a technical proposal along with a technology demonstration addressing the National Aerospace Laboratories’ RFP to develop Automatic Flight Control Systems (AFCS) for SARAS Aircraft System using Honeywell’s well proven Primus EPIC Architecture as backbone.
SARAS, a 14-seater, multi-role aircraft with feeder airline and air-taxi operations as its primary roles, is being designed and developed by the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), signifying a major step in India's entry into the civil aviation market.
Primus EPIC is an all new integrated avionics system for business, regional and helicopter aircraft. The system features a highly flexible and cost effective framework, combined with the products that have made Honeywell the world’s leading avionics supplier.
The AFCS product offering from Honeywell will have the following features
Three axis Autopilot
Automatic and manual Pitch Trim
Flight director function
Fail safe architecture with CAT-II safety features
Scalable and up-gradable platform
Honeywell is offering this customized solution for the AFCS product through joint product development model by closely working with the NAL team and end user to define the product requirements. This product is expected to be ready for flight test by December 2008.
The product offering is comparatively less risky as the hardware platform is proven and has been flying in aircraft fleets belonging to various Business and General Aviation (GA) customers of Honeywell. Other benefits include considerable savings in the product certification effort.
The underlying technology can be reused and extended to cater to the needs of slightly larger aircrafts, say, 50 to 70 seater aircraft.
The Indian Aviation Market has seen rapid growth during the last few years and is expected to grow at the same rate in the future. It is estimated that there will be a requirement for around 250-300 aircraft over a period of 15 years. Market surveys conducted by different agencies indicate that there will be potential market for GA aircraft related products like AFCS in the country/Asia Pacific region.
NAL is now planning to design and develop 70 seater General Aviation aircrafts incorporating state-of–the-art technologies. It is planned to be a composite aircraft with fly-by-wire technology. NAL has now requested HTSL to study and provide a proposal for an Integrated Flight Control System that includes the Primary Flight Control System and the Automatic Flight Control System.
Honeywell has broken the ice in the Asia pacific region GA Product market by taking the pioneering step to develop the AFCS for the SARAS aircraft.