More Electric Architecture (MEA) is one of Honeywell's most advanced design
concepts for building the aircraft of the future. With an inventive
architecture for generating, managing and maintaining power on today's and
tomorrow's aircraft, this breakthrough technology has major implications for
the future of commercial and military aircraft design.
With MEA technology, the weight in an aircraft can be shifted from hydraulic
systems and plumbing to passengers, fuel or mission payloads. MEA technology
could dramatically reduce per-passenger costs and ticket prices for commercial
aircraft, while giving military planes more maneuverability and survivability
due to less vulnerability to enemy fire.
The Benefits of MEA
As the next-generation more electric aircraft architecture is adopted,
Honeywell’s electric systems and components will deliver significant benefits
industry wide. Honeywell’s MEA solutions result in aircraft that:
Reduces the cost of ownership and operation
MEA offers significant costs advantages with lower recurring costs due to
fewer parts, integration of key subsystems and multi-use components. It also
reduces the overall cost of operation and ownership because MEA helps reduce
fuel consumption, increasing overall aircraft performance and energy usage.
Reduced maintenance and ground support are additional benefits, adding to lower
cost of ownership and operation.
Improves mission performance
MEA enables a more efficient cruise, leading to some fuel savings as well as
better use of the aircraft’s engine as a thrust and power generator. There is
better power availability through the flight envelope due to the shifting of
power extraction from high spool to low spool, improving engine
Increases design flexibility and optimization
MEA eliminates the high temperature ducts and flammable fluids required in
traditional aircraft, enabling the introduction of new structural solutions and
materials as well as a simpler structure with less shields for heat and fluids
protection. MEA also allows for less certification constraints (less fire
protection, hydraulic fire shut-off) as well as the use of lighter materials
such as aluminum and composites due to its lower running temperatures, making a
lighter aircraft and also enabling more design flexibility.
Provides better availability and reliability (simplified maintenance)
Availability and reliability improvement gains with MEA positively affect
the value function when life cycle is considered. The integration of power
generation leads to more available generation. More redundancy for power
generation can be used to design systems with more functional availability.
Lower temperature management can be used to extend the life of system
components. Reliability and maintenance of aircraft is improved because
electric systems are easier to diagnose, monitor and trend. There is better
prediction of impending failures and faster diagnostics, meaning less
Improves passenger comfort
MEA reduces smell-in-cabin problems because the fresh air system is
completely independent from the engine and APU oil systems. The cabin pressure
is also independent from the engine setting, eliminating any cabin pressure
“bumps” for passengers during throttle transients. With MEA, there are fewer
hydraulic lines to transmit vibration to the cabin, reducing hydraulic noise in
the aircraft’s cabin, thereby improving passengers’ travel experience.
Improves the manufacturing cycle and reduces the cost of acquisition
There are a number of gains in final assembly cycle time with MEA due to
suppression of hydraulic and bleed distributions, the possibility to configure
and optimize power distribution for assembly and ground test operations and the
flexibility in control and monitoring of electrically powered systems
(automated flight testing). These manufacturing cycle improvements lead to a
lower cost of acquisition.
MEA Applications: The Airbus A380, the F-35 and Beyond
The Airbus A380 airplane is the biggest commercial aircraft ever built, and
will be the first to deploy MEA technology. The MEA concept was developed
specifically for the A380 because of the aircraft’s sheer size.
The A380 will be the first commercial aircraft to incorporate a Solid State
Power Control (SSPC)-based Secondary Electric Power Distribution System (SEPDS)
and integrated safety surveillance system, all provided by Honeywell. The SEPDS
uses programmable SSPC devices in place of traditional electromechanical
circuit breaker technology, providing benefits to the aircraft in terms of load
management, fault isolation, diagnostic health monitoring, and improved
flexibility to accommodate modifications and system upgrades.
The baseline SEPDS will manage 1500 loads with spare growth capacity to
accommodate the control of more than 2000 loads. The SSPC technology was
specially developed by Honeywell in order to meet such applications, and is
being refined to meet Airbus’ specific requirements on the A380.
More Electric, More Honeywell
Honeywell is a major system supplier with all the technologies needed to
generate, convert, distribute and control aircraft power on a more electric
|Variable frequency and DC generation
|High voltage distribution
|Secondary solid-state distribution (including smart sensing)
|High Power/voltage conversion
|High power, high speed motors (permanent magnet motors, switch
Honeywell's innovative systems are helping its partners bring the value-added
aircraft systems of the future to customers. In the last two years alone,
Honeywell has developed and demonstrated technical capabilities critical to
deploy MEA on large air transport aircraft, such as the Airbus 320- 330, the
Boeing 767-777 class plane as well as the Pneumatic System on the Rolls Royce
Trent 900 engine.
The stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, being built to replace fighters used by
the Air Force, Navy and Marines, is expected to be the world’s premier strike
aircraft through 2040, with a planned roll-out in 2006. The F-35 will also
employ MEA technologies developed by Honeywell.
To solve aircraft-level integration problems, Honeywell created a systems
integration concept for use on the F-35 that combines the functions of
auxiliary power, environmental controls, and emergency power into a single
system. This Power Thermal Management System (PTMS) integrates a turbomachinery
system and an electrical power management system, resulting in reduced aircraft
weight, length and lifecycle costs and improved reliability.
“At Honeywell, we are committed to maintaining value by bringing MEA to
customers,” said Martin Vershoor, Vice President of Engineering and
Technology-Honeywell Engines, Systems and Services. “With our extensive product
breadth and commitment to systems integration, Honeywell is an obvious choice
as a supplier for more electric aircraft.”
What the Future Holds
MEA technologies are continually evolving, and there is opportunity for
improvement as systems continue to be enhanced. As MEA technologies advance,
smaller components will be used, continuing to reduce costs and improve
The long-term goals in an all-electric aircraft, with MEA being the evolutional
step. The transition to an all-electric aircraft, which would be controlled by
small, computerized electric motors, is still many years in the future.
Meanwhile, MEA will bridge two eras in aircraft technology as planes shed some
of the traditional pneumatic and hydraulic systems for lighter, simpler,
electric and electronic replacements.
For more information on Honeywell's MEA technologies, visit www.honeywell.com/more_electric