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What is avionics?

Discover why avionics are essential to modern air travel.

An aircraft manufacturer installs avionic systems. [©Jupiter Images 2008]
©Jupiter Images 2008
An aircraft manufacturer installs avionic systems.

Avionics, a term derived by combining aviation and electronics, describes all of the electronic navigational, communications, and flight management aids with which airplanes are equipped today.

In military aircraft "avionics" also covers electronically-controlled weapons, reconnaissance, and detection systems. Until the 1940s, the systems involved in operating aircraft were purely mechanical, electric, or magnetic, with radio apparatus being the most sophisticated instrumentation.

The advent of radar and the great advance made in airborne detection during World War II led to the general adoption of electronic distance-measuring and navigational aids. In military aircraft such devices improve weapon delivery accuracy and in commercial aircraft they provide greater safety in operation.

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