Uncrewed aerial systems and urban air mobility for disruptive aviation

Uncrewed aerial systems and urban air mobility for disruptive aviation

Pradeep Chakraborty
New Update

At the Honeywell conference in Chicago, USA, David Shilliday, VP and GM, Urban Air Mobility & Unmanned Aerial Systems, Honeywell Aerospace, talked about uncrewed aerial systems and urban air mobility. Honeywell has several aerospace sustainability products. This includes SAF, Honeywell Aerospace Trading (HAT), Honeywell Flight Efficiency, high-efficiency mode (HEM) for 131-9 APU, electric propulsion, hydrogen fuel cells, electric power, and mVCS with Solstice.


There are aero solutions in every workstream. He presented the aviation roadmap. Challenges include production capacity ramping up, sustainable aviation fuels, fuel storage and systems, fuel storage and infrastructure, range, hydrogen, and batteries. Honeywell has UAM/UAS business, around uncrewed aerial systems, and urban air mobility. Honeywell is providing vehicle systems and integration for OEMs across all the vehicle categories. We provide complete integrated propulsion and aviation systems. Honeywell is also a leading provider of certifiable integrated UAM systems. Within that, it is developing system solutions that allow simpler integration.

For UAM OEMs that need technologically superior and low C-SWAP solution for their vehicles, Honeywell is the leading provider of certifiable integrated UAM systems due to the decades of experience designing and certifying aerospace products. It also has investments in UAM technology.

Honeywell is also creating critical systems that make disruptive aviation possible, making them sustainable. Electrification, automation and vertical takeoff + fixed wing cruise flight can reduce the operating cost by 35-75%. Small rotors with low tip speed leads to 100x quieter operations, compared to helicopters. Multiple rotors and automated flight control eliminate the single-point failure and supports robust vertical takeoff. Finally, the all-electric powertrain eliminates pollutants and carbon emissions at point of application.


He gave examples of the integrated avionics system. It is composed of vehicle management system, fly-by-wire, autonomous tactical navigation and DAA, and connectivity. Another one is the integrated propulsion system, etc. The integrated propulsion system is composed of turbogenerator, thermal management, motors and motor problems remain.

There is a mature and certifiable system for faster EIS. Flight test hardware is available in 2023, and production units are likely in 2023-24 timeframe. Honeywell is launching a revolution in aerial transportation and logistics. Aero is securing the future of aviation. Honeywell has won contracts from Vertical Aerospace, Lillium, Hyundai Supernal, etc. We won a contract with ES-30 aircraft. He mentioned 1MW turbogenerator tailorable for any app, and fuel cell power.

Honeywell has $7 billion+ in content awards across multiple customer types with varying missions and EIS dates. We are applying the existing technology, tailoring offerings, and creating new products. There have been wins across all Honeywell Aerospace key business units. $10 billion+ is in pipeline over the next 5 years. We have the potential to generate ~$2 billion in revenue by 2030. He elaborated on Honeywell’s OEM landscape.


Discussing the product overviews, he added that vehicle management systems are designed for UAM and cargo UAVs. UAM are going to be complex flying vehicles with distributed electric propulsion. They are going to be almost impossible for human to control directly and a fly by wire system allows for the pilot to communicate the intent to the vehicle and the flight computer then manages the control surfaces and the motor. Honeywell’s compact fly-by-wire allows for a full envelope protection reducing pilot workload and provides a pathway to allow pilots certified to a new less stringent standard in future.

Honeywell has extensive experience providing flight control system in ATR and BGA. We have flight control system solution on 737-800/900 series, MD10, Comac 919, and 787, E-Jets, Citation Jet and Gulfstream like G450/550/650. We provide Air transport’s capabilities with triple redundancy and dissimilarity in a smaller package. Each FBW will weigh about 3.5 lbs, and is approximately 7.5x6x2. FWB, by definition, needs to be high-integrity and high-availability. Our architecture allows us to meet that need. We have already provided demo units to two OEMs.

Honeywell has been selected on Pipistrel Cargo and Vertical Aerospace, with active conversations with multiple other OEMs. Our FBW is seamlessly integrated with our actuators and motors. With an integrated HON system we will manage all integration and certification requirements. Along with FBW, the product is robust enough to easily adapt various aircraft configuration, regardless of whether you have 30 motors or 10 motors. We can do all of this without requiring active cooling.


Honeywell also offers small UAV satcom. For thermal management, micro vapor cycle system provides active cooling in compact, lightweight unit. It further has high power density 50-125kW electric propulsion motors and controllers. High volume, low-cost is achieved via

automotive-scale mass production.

Honeywell offers the GPSDOME anti-jam device. Add-on device provides protection against jamming. Its 1-MW turbogenerator has industry-leading power density. It uses traditional jet fuel or sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Proven HGT1700 power core flies on every Airbus A350. Honeywell fuel cell power has 7-10x endurance. It is silent and low thermal signature. There are no moving parts, and has high reliability relative to IC engines.

Multiple fuelling approaches make life easy. These can be gaseous hydrogen, which is being deployed today. Liquid hydrogen has higher energy density, but added complexity. Solid-state hydrogen has low complexity and easy logistics, but higher cost.

Honeywell has customers involved with Scope 3. There should be efficient ways to improve manufacturing, production, etc. Post-Covid-19, demand is very high. There is some disconnect between demand and supply. Carbon capture can be one solution.