Thales' expertise in Fly-by-Wire (FBW) spans over 35 years and 10,000 aircraft. From the early days of the Airbus A320 airliner to the latest Cessna Citation Hemisphere, Thales has been at the forefront of FBW innovation. By providing aircraft manufacturers with solutions ranging from single-axis or secondary flight control computers and electronics to complete integration of flight control systems. Thales has grown to become the largest flight control electronics system supplier in the world.
Flight control system design and tools
Thales' FBW flight control systems offer substantial benefits to aircraft manufacturers in terms of flight safety, aircraft performance and reliability. Flight envelope protection, reduced pilot workload, minimized aircraft weight, improved handling qualities and reliability are some of the key advantages of Thales solutions.
Moreover, with a unique flight control system architecture and unrivalled development and integration tools, Thales' value proposition features several additional benefits:
- Best availability and dispatch rates in the industry
- Simplest architecture, (less LRUs & part numbers)
- Reduced integration cost and schedule-related risks
- Eased certification process
Thales' proprietary tools enable system integrators to visualize and modify control parameters in real time, even while performing flight testing, consequently saving numerous flight test hours and engineering efforts. Supported by automatic certified code generation, these tools enable Thales to deliver software updates in record time, ensuring system certification on-time and on-budget.
Thales Fly-by-wire Flight Control Computer (FCC) for aircraft
The Flight Control Computer (FCC) is a high integrity, low SWaP (Size, Weight and Power) airborne computer that comprises two channels operating in an active/standby configuration. Each channel directly performs the inceptor position acquisition via analog sensors, processes the aircraft manufacturer control laws, and provides digital commands to control the flight control surfaces. It also consolidates and reports the statuses of all flight control system equipment for annunciation to the flight and maintenance crews. The FCC manages the various system modes as well as the active/standby redundancy between both channels of the same FCC.
Thales Smart Electronic Control Unit (SECU)
Smaller aircraft may require a secondary or single axis FBW flight control system only. The Smart Electronic Control Unit (SECU) was developed to fulfill this need. It is a 3MCU high-integrity controller designed to acquire inceptor position and directly manage the flight control surface actuator. It is perfectly suitable for rudders and multifunction or ground spoilers.
Thales Remote Electronic Units (REU)
The Remote Electronics Unit (REU) receives digital commands from the Thales FCC and performs close loop actuator control. It is designed to be installed near the flight control surfaces, in unpressurized areas, to reduce aircraft wiring between the FCC and the actuators.
Aircraft maintenance personnel can push software updates to and retrieve diagnosis data from the Thales REU using a single Thales FCC interface. This saves considerable development and in-service support time, which translates into gains for both the aircraft manufacturer and the aircraft operator.
Thales Flight Control Systems on board major programs
Thales pioneered the development and certification of FBW technology on modern aircraft, starting with the Airbus wide-body A310 in 1983 followed by the A320 family where Thales supplies the Spoiler Elevator Computer (SEC), Elevator Aileron Computer (ELAC), and Flight Augmentation Computer (FAC). Thales also supplies full flight control systems on the Bombardier CRJ 700/900/1000 and Global 5000/6000 aircraft families.