L3Harris’ Innovative Solutions Mitigate AAM Development Barriers

Credit: L3Harris

L3Harris has always advanced its stellar reputation as an aerospace OEM and leading technology pioneer. By taking a wide-ranging holistic approach, it is once again breaking barriers by leveraging its industry-leading technologies and services and adapting them to the advanced air mobility (AAM) ecosystem development and electric vertical take-off and landing eVTOL aircraft operations. To meet the needs of the AAM evolution, L3Harris has refined its customer engagement methodology using a client-focused partnership approach with teams actively participating in global airspace initiatives and pilot-training working groups. The company is also leveraging its agile engineering and product development principles to meet evolving industry requirements.

The L3Harris AAM portfolio includes advanced traffic detection and collision avoidance systems with non-cooperative sensor integration, lightweight voice and flight data recorders, and a family of multifunction displays. Its robust and versatile data analytics platform provides Flight Data Monitoring, Flight Operations Quality Assurance and system diagnostics that enable evidence-based pilot training. They also have a new eVTOL pilot training simulator with an Air Carrier-level training program under development.

CUTTING-EDGE Airborne Collision Avoidance SYSTEMS (ACAS X)

As co-chair for the RTCA SC-147 surveillance working group and active participation in other relevant aviation working groups, such as SC-228 WG1 that drives detect and avoid requirements, L3Harris is on the leading edge for developing next-generation collision avoidance logic with surveillance data integration. L3Harris is leveraging their proven and widely adopted TCAS, ADS-B, transponders and terrain awareness expertise with additional capabilities like distance measuring equipment, radar and other sensor integration, into creating a simplified, modern, lightweight OEM unit capable of hosting all flavors of ACAS X.  

Current detect and avoid air-to-air collision avoidance systems incorporating FAA’s ACAS Xu algorithm that have been flight-tested on Predator, Triton and other unmanned platforms have successfully demonstrated improved tactical performance and safety, major goals of the FAA programs.  In addition to these military initiatives, programs are also underway to leverage this capability in the commercial market towards safety and autonomy, from simplified vehicle operations, remote piloting to full autonomy.

In addition to the ACAS X programs, L3Harris advanced technology team is also actively developing many future disruptive technologies for urban air mobility platforms. They recently introduced the Rotor Strike Alerting System at the Heli-Expo show in Atlanta and other regional events. It utilizes light detection and ranging (LIDAR) to detect wires, drones, and other obstacles, bringing improved situational awareness to the pilot, improving safety close to ground.

A critical aspect of the AAM market is the anticipated vertiports, traffic flow, and the type of air traffic and airspace management needed for AAM aircraft integration into the National Airspace System. L3Harris’ current and future ACAS X integration programs include secure datalink integration, autopilot automation, GPS-denied navigation and emergency flight/landing support. These solutions leverage today’s standard protocols for enhanced safety and can help define AAM air traffic control needs and harmonize industry regulations, which can also aid in social acceptance during the entry into service phases.

Ultra-Low weight, High-Capacity Voice and Flight Data Recorders

L3Harris is an industry leader with over 60 years’ experience providing voice and flight data recorders for almost all aerospace platforms. Its Extra Lightweight Data Recorder (xLDR), weighing less than 1.1 kilograms, is ideally suited for eVTOLs, helicopters and uncrewed aircraft. The xLDR is certified to FAA TSO-C197 and EASA ETSO-2C197 and provides crash-protected audio, flight data, images, video and GPS parameters. It exceeds ED-155 mandates and global recommendations for critical data for accident and incident investigators and is incorporated into operators’ FOQA programs. For easy data retrieval, it has a built-in web server that allows operators to retrieve recorded data using a PC-based laptop and standard web browser. Operators using the Recorder Data Interface ground support tool from L3Harris have the ability for on-wing data retrieval. Production units of the xLDR will be available in the fourth quarter of this year.

High-Performing Multifunction Displays

The company is currently developing multifunction display solutions and adapting them to the AAM market and specific customer requirements. The L3Harris solutions provide operators high performing, highly flexible and configurable data and video processing solutions that meet the current required safety and certification requirements. Additional modes and configurations such as ADS-B traffic awareness, synthetic vision and other functions can be displayed when standby function is not in use.

These solutions complete the ‘all-glass’ cockpit design and are available in client-specific sizes, interfaces and configurations. These critical displays ensure pilots always have the primary flight information available.

Robust Data Analytics & Flight Intelligence 

L3Harris provides thorough and dynamic flight data analytics solutions for OEMs and operators.  Leveraging their industry-leading expertise, the flight data analytics teams are developing new functions, services and capabilities specific to the AAM market for eVTOL vehicle diagnostics and enhanced safety features for their pilots.

The company’s eVTOL diagnostics includes battery state of charge, equipment usage and maintenance alerts. These features are critical during the prototype, certification and entry into service phases and are customizable to OEM specifications. 

L3Harris uses its current flight data analytics solution as the foundation for eVTOL flight and safety solutions. It provides a robust safety management system using 3D visualization and safety alerts aligned to user-defined standard operating parameters. It provides actionable flight intelligence for evidence-based pilot training, flight route planning and flight optimization through regular data analysis from simulators and flights throughout the pilot’s career. L3Harris will continue evolving its solution as the AAM needs become more defined.

Pilot Training Solutions and Simulators 

L3Harris is developing AAM and eVTOL pilot training solutions by working with various OEMs, aviation authorities and its in-house airline training organization. The anticipated demand for pilots calls for competency-based training and assessment framework to train groups of students quickly and cost-effectively. Currently under development is the L3Harris eVTOL virtual and mixed reality training simulators and devices that adopt the latest immersive technologies, incorporating unified flight controls and the simplified vehicle operations concept developed under NASA research and development. It leverages mixed reality and motion control with integrated vibration and special effects. The simulator software is adopted and enhanced from current L3Harris pilot training devices certified and used by airline customers. The training solution also incorporates the L3Harris flight operations quality assurance data analytics. Future development plans include eVTOL flight management system trainers and on-demand software courses.

Innovation Allegiance

L3Harris is leveraging years of aviation expertise, investing in advanced technology programs and actively leading industry collaboration for the advanced air mobility market, but that is just the beginning. The company is devoted to providing state-of-the-art solutions and data analytics intelligence to increase safety, harmonize pilot training programs and expedite platform airworthiness and AAM air space integration. Its agile development culture, quick-turn prototyping capabilities and scalable manufacturing abilities meet customer-defined timelines, product demands and the evolving ecosystem technology needs.

The future air mobility market is a game changer for the aerospace industry — and L3Harris is all in.

Learn more at www.L3Harris.com/AAM.

Suggested images that are under the design process, so they are clean. Other suggestions welcome.

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Rotor Strike Alerting System (RSAS) displaying wire detection.


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Extra Lightweight Data Recorder (xLDR) voice and flight data recorder wights only 1.1KG and is ED-155 certified.


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Datalink Enhanced Data Analytics for AAM insights on every flight for connected eVTOLS


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eVTOL conceptual pilot trainer and mixed-reality demonstrator merges actual live imaging of components and cockpit.