Sagem and MTU Aero Engines kicked off the Farnborough air show with the launch of a 50:50 joint venture, AES Aerospace Embedded Solutions, to provide safety-critical software and hardware such as full authority digital engine control (FADEC) and systems to control landing gear, braking, monitoring and information systems.
AES will deploy some 200 engineers, primarily from MTU Aero Engines, but also some from Safran. Its main products will include control systems for engines such as the TP400-D6 turboprop powering the Airbus A400M. Sagem's Safran Electronics division will contribute support and access to its large portfolio of onboard electronics.
AES will be headquartered in Munich on the MTU campus. Christophe Bruneau of Sagem will be chief executive and Thomas Fähr of MTU will be chief technical officer. Pending regulatory approval, AES should begin operations by the end of the year.
Also at Farnborough, Sagem will be showing the latest developments in its electric taxiing system, which will enter trials with EasyJet next year with the goal of entering service in 2016. Sagem director Marc Ventre says the ultimate goal is to develop the system sufficiently to be offered as an option, and then standard equipment, on the Airbus A320neo.
By integrating an electric motor drive into the nose wheel, driven by the on-board auxiliary power unit (APU), this "green taxiing" system could do away with the heavy diesel tugs that pull aircraft back from their stands. Since main engines are optimised to cruise, not to drive the aircraft on the ground, the system promises to improve aircraft fuel economics dramatically despite the extra weight of the driven nose wheel, especially when operating at airports with long taxiways. Ventre expects that on typical short-haul operations, total fuel burn for a stand-to-stand flight cycle could be reduced by 3-4%.