BAE Systems is working on a clean and efficient form of powered air flight, combining electric power sources with its proprietary propulsion technology. The contractor is working with other companies to design a series of power sources capable of reducing or even replacing the need of small aircraft for fuel combustion engines. These novel power sources, which will require some time for development, will provide the capability to help small electric aircraft take off while reducing greenhouse gases for a cleaner environment. The firm is drawing upon decades of design experience in electric propulsion and flight electronics.
BAE’s designers are attempting to optimize the performance of their aircraft power management and energy systems working with their flight controls, to achieve a new form of clean air transportation. The novel power sources will cut emissions and help aircraft operators save on fuel costs. The designers expect to have operational prototypes of aircraft electrification systems for regional transport jets and urban air mobility use later in 2020. They have also teamed with Jaunt Air Mobility on a hybrid electric system and controls for that company’s 186-seat aircraft.
BAE Systems has been working on electrification technology for almost 30 years and the technology has been widely adopted and used in the transit bus industry, installed on more than 12,000 transit buses around the world. Part of the most recent efforts to make flights safer and friendlier to the environment will also improve battery technology to meet the challenging power demands of flight. The technology must also meet the certification requirements for flight systems—systems that must last for millions of travel miles (considerably longer than the operating demands of an electric car).