SWaP-C – Transforming the Future of Aircraft Components

SWaP-C what it is, what it means to the Aircraft industry. When it comes to the design and operation of the aircraft, cost and efficiency are part of the pillar of every decision making process. Owners and executives will always look at how to get the optimum performance, weight, capability and cost out of every possible component installed on the aircraft.

Taking into account the current economic environment and how it has affected the aviation sector, businesses will be more eager to get more value out of their money. This principle is currently called the SWaP-C or Size, Weight, Power and Cost. The SWaP-C principle looks on how every component would be made lighter, efficient, packed with more superior performance and within reasonable cost

Current Use

The SWaP-C principle has largely found its way on the avionics components of both transport and military aircraft. Sensors, computers and display have been the primary focus on the application of SWaP-C however the integration of this principle is being already tested on structural and aircraft system application.

Among the notable providers and market leaders of SWaP-C components are the following:

1. Vicor – Vicor provides next generation power bricks that are two to three times smaller than its previous product using their DCM packaging approach.

2. VPT Incorporated – VPT with their SVPL series DC-DC converters offers radiation powered electronics devices that are used in both space and high-altitude aircraft.

3. Data Device Corporation – DDC provides a power converter that supplies 28 volts that are mainly used for in-flight entertainment and USB charging ports aboard passenger aircraft.

4. Curtiss-Wright – Curtiss-Wright provides different components in miniature form for greater savings such as Data Storage, Processor System, Sensor Processor and Routers.

Ideal Design

Upon careful scrutinization of what the aviation industry expects as the next generation of components, the ideal SWaP-C component should have the following characteristics:

➔ Commonality – Allows the component to be installed regardless of aircraft type. This feature provides a potential increase in revenue as the chances of potential purchase is directly related to the number of aircraft types where it can be possibly installed.

➔ Lightweight – While it can easily be overlooked, lower component weight directly affects the amount of fuel the aircraft consumes. This may be considered small on a per flight basis but when compounded over a long period of time, this can bring a significant amount of savings.

➔ Digitalization – With the push of the aviation sector to provide ergonomically designed cockpit, manufacturers and operators have already started to shy away from analog instruments and have openly adapted digital display by LED. Cockpit displays are now more compact as the previous design of multiple panels containing analog instruments are now combined and refined into a single LED display unit.

➔ Improved Performance – May it be an electrical, communication, navigation, sensor or any other aircraft system component, SWaP-C looks into having an improved performance and capability from each component’s predecessor.

➔ Cost – While SWaP-C components might not be cheaper coming off the shelf, the reduction in cost comes from the reliability of each component against unplanned or unscheduled replacement. SWaP-C components allow longer accumulation of flight hours and flight cycle before mandatory replacement due to their improved design and durability.

SWaP-C - Transforming the Future of Aircraft Components

Future of the SWaP-C Market

While it is still too early for actual and reliable statistics on the current value of the SWaP-C market, we have decided to take the lead and determined the leading PMA (Parts Manufacturer Approval) holder that is registered with the FAA. From this, we can have a rough idea of the potential value the SWaP-C components hold in the future by analyzing the revenue of the leading parts manufacturers based in the USA.

We are fairly confident that these major industry players would adopt the SWaP-C principle and the share of revenue of their SWaP-C initiated projects would increase in the years to come.

PMA Holder Name

Regardless of the company and where their line of products focus into, the call for the survival of the industry favors those who are welcome and equipped to handle change. Change requires evolution of products and the trend for evolution includes the application of the SWaP-C principle. If you are interested in learning more about this subject or the Aviation industry in general please click here to reach out and speak to Craig


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