Thales technologies onboard the B787
Neuilly-sur-Seine, 19 January 2010 – Thales is proud to be onboard the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the new generation aircraft that is bringing big-jet ranges to mid-size airplanes. The Dreamliner also boasts significant improvements in fuel efficiency and a more pleasant environment for passengers inside the aircraft.
Boeing has designed the Dreamliner with a structure up to 50 percent derived from composite plastic materials, meaning the aircraft is relatively light. The offshoot of this lighter structure is a 20 percent reduction in fuel requirements compared to existing models in its category.
Thales has contributed to weight reductions achieved for the B787, by creating lightweight systems that together can reduce airlines’ carbon footprints and operating costs. These innovative systems include the electrical power conversion system, the Integrated Standby Flight Instrument, as well as the TopSeries In-flight Entertainment system.
Innovation and Electrical Power Conversion
Boeing has selected leading electrical power conversion technology from Thales to efficiently power the vast array of consumer systems onboard the B787 with the least environmental impact. These systems, both conventional and new, include Thales IFE, as well as electrical environmental control systems and the electrical brake system.
Thales’s lightweight system offers a reliable, innovative and optimised solution for power distribution at a range of voltage levels to meet the B787’s significant electrical demand and related need for AC/DC power conversions.
Thales’s power conversion system has achieved a very high power density benchmark, further contributing to reductions in both weight and volume onboard the B787. Lightweight electrical circuits now replace some hydraulic circuits, meaning a greater range of systems are now powered by electricity. For instance, the B787 features electrical brakes. The newgeneration power conversion system includes an innovative transformer and rectifier solution that supports the B787 high-voltage DC network.
Boeing chose Thales’s lithium-ion battery technology, which provides higher reliability and improved maintenance compared to traditional solutions, for the B787 low-voltage DC emergency back-up subsystem. This is a first in civil aviation, with Thales as prime contractor in association with Securaplane of the United States and GS Yuasa of Japan.
Thales’s role in developing innovative power conversion solutions for the B787 has placed it among the few worldwide leaders meeting complex demands for Air Transport conversion applications. This achievement is a strong endorsement of the functionality and value of Thales solutions and the company’s ability to develop innovative new technologies and cooperate successfully at the international level.
Innovation and the Integrated Standby Flight Display
Boeing selected the Thales Integrated Standby Flight Display (ISFD), which displays navigation parameters in one unit ergonomically designed to reduce pilot workload onboard the B787. The ISFD features a liquid crystal display (LCD) that allows pilots to read the aircraft’s pitch and roll attitude, airspeed, altitude, as well as heading and landing approach deviation data in a format similar to a standard PFD screen (primary flight display).
Thales, a world leader in conventional standby instrumentation, drew on its expertise in both Active Matrix LCD technology and solid state sensors to develop the ISFD. These very precise embedded sensors include inertial and pressure components fitted to functions that are then displayed on the colour, high definition and fully sunreadable Active Matrix LCD (AMLCD) in the cockpit.
Thales has been Boeing’s preferred partner for the ISFD for ten years. The ISFD is also installed on B737 New Generation, 757, 767, 777 and 747-400 aircraft throughout the world. With a forward-looking design, this system is particularly suitable for aircraft upgrade operations.
Innovation and In-flight Entertainment (IFE)
Thales and Boeing have been working together since 2004 to design and develop a new lightweight In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) system as part of the B787 programme. This system is based on Thales’s reliable, state-of-the-art TopSeries family of IFE systems, which supports both connectivity technology and personal electronic device usage. Thales’s IFE solution not only enhances passenger comfort, but also reduces the cost of operations for airlines by minimising the need for maintenance.
The Thales TopSeries IFE system is the first such system in the industry that is capable of integrating broadband communications, on-demand entertainment (music and movies) and in-seat power to accommodate personal electronic devices. Thales, the fastest growing IFE developer in the world, designed the system as an onboard “intranet” with digital servers that
store terabytes of data gigabit, Ethernet networks throughout the cabin, seat equipment that includes passenger monitor displays and entertainment control units to navigate through the menu options.
Thales has approximately 40 percent of the global IFE market. Its Topseries system will be fitted onto more than 165 aircraft from Air China, Air India, British Airways, China Eastern, Ethiopian Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Northwest, Japan Airlines, Korean Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Royal Air Maroc and Shanghai.