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Embraer Continues Second-Generation E-Jet Development

posted Feb 6, 2013, 2:07 AM by Michael Adams

A program of improvements aimed at reducing fuel burn by as much as 5.5% in some E-Jet versions is being introduced by Embraer as part of plans to bolster the regional jet product line in the run-up to the introduction of the re-engined second generation in 2018.

The Brazilian manufacturer also has announced that Honeywell’s Primus 2 integrated avionics system will be used for the second generation and that other key equipment selections will follow in the next three months.

The selection of Honeywell, which beat competition from Garmin and Rockwell Collins, follows Embraer’s surprise decision earlier this year to pick Pratt & Whitney’s geared turbofan for the new aircraft over the incumbent General Electric.

Honeywell provides the avionics suite for the current E-Jet family and, as part of the newly detailed multi-phase upgrade effort, also will supply its Next Generation Flight Management System (NGFMS) from 2015.

The updated FMS, which also is used on the Boeing 747-8 and Gulfstream 650, will support optimized flight profiles, including a “cost index” to cut fuel burn, Honeywell’s “smart landing” system, which reduces runway excursions, and compliance to required navigation performance standards of 0.1 nm.

Embraer’s E-Jet upgrade plan includes a wide-ranging series of aerodynamic, structural and systems improvements, the bulk of which also will be available for retrofit on the current E-Jet portfolio. Embraer, which first revealed the initiative in late January when it announced Republic Airways’ firm order for 47 E-175s, says the changes are part of a continuous upgrade path it has been following since the first E-Jet models entered service in 2004.

Packages will be introduced through 2015, although “. . . there are other things that we are considering for 2016/2017,” says Embraer Commercial Aviation Market Intelligence VP Claudio Camelier.

The initial element is a fuel burn improvement package along with a series of maintenance updates, all of which are being introduced this year.

The first fuel burn package includes a series of aerodynamic “clean-up” features to reduce drag, along with optimization of the environmental control (ECS) and anti-ice systems, to reduce excessive use of engine bleed air. The aero-package includes fillers to close drag-causing gaps in the horizontal tail, a revised rain deflector over the cabin doors, improved ram air doors in the lower fuselage and low-drag wheel fairings.