Benefits/Challenges of Distributed HT Engine Control Architectures

Aircraft operational impact of eliminating FADEC cooling requirement

  • 50 to 100F increase in 'starting fuel temperature limit' or as much as 50% increase in 'ground idle time' (1200F hot day)
  • Reduces/eliminates unusable fuel in tanks used for thermal heat sink
  • Eliminates aircraft dispatch restrictions, fly when you want or need to!

Additional operational and programmatic benefits

  • Reduces weight/cost of aircraft and engine cabling, cooling systems
  • Significant fuel burn savings, $2k/aircraft/yr - $6k/aircraft/yr.
  • Reduced A/C/engine system weight, unusable fuel weight
  • Reduce AC/FADEC system development costs for all types of engines
  • Leverage electronics designs across multiple platforms
  • Reduce impact of electronic parts obsolescence
  • Creates plug-and-play, flexible, adaptable system designs
  • Eliminates the need for new system designs for every new program
  • Reduces NRE costs, technical risks, time required for new programs

DECWG® Technical Challenges

  • Electronics for harsh gas turbine and PTMS environment that meet temperature , durability and reliability targets.
  • High Temperature materials for digital control assemblies.
  • Physical interface standards for sensors, actuators, etc.
  • Realizing unit cost targets that allow dual-use viability.
  • Fault-tolerant, high-quality power for control distribution.
  • High Temperature-compatible communication architectures.
  • Standards for Certification of distributed control systems.
  • Architectural features for rapid reconfiguration and upgrade.
  • Cybersecurity considerations for distributed control systems.

Goals/Benefits (need to evaluate):

  • Control system weight/volume reduction -FADEC, wiring harnesses, and system effectors - possibly improves fuel efficiency
  • Thermal management - helps reduce engine thermal cooling constraints; improves fuel efficiency by allowing more heat to be rejected to the fuel. Power sharing
  • Architecture flexibility - allows engine computational resources to be located offengine. Enables improved integration of engine and flight controls
  • Affordability - allows greatly reduced development and certification costs on new and derivative systems. Avoidance of part obsolescence which drives $100's of millions annually in unnecessary redesigns
  • Obsolescence Mitigation - Distributed control system using open/modular architecture allow for easier/faster future upgrades
  • Secure supply base - current systems are overly dependent on foreign electronic part suppliers
  • Reliability - highly reliable parts with long lifetime supply and support.
  • Embedded systems - distributed embedded control system for highly integrated application
  • Emissions reduction - need for high temperature electronics in more electric engine architectures.

Other items to evaluate:

  • Standardization - smart node interfaces and data transmission. Also, firmware algorithms across all smart nodes.
  • Communication bus - reliable high-speed and fault tolerant communication systems that can withstand the hostile operating environment of a typical engine.


The Distributed Engine Control Working Group (DECWG® ) is promoting distributed control systems

  • Industry collaboration of US turbine engine and controls suppliers
  • Each company is participating based on internal cost-benefit trade studies, all proprietary to each company
  • Each company is currently absorbing individual costs of DECWG® participation
  • Trade study results supporting this investment is proprietary to each company

The cost, weight and reliability on electrical system cabling for a generic commercial engine, non-proprietary information has been investigated