Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens announced (28-Nov-2017) the formation a partnership intended to develop a near term flight demonstrator for hybrid-electric propulsion for commercial aircraft. The hybrid-electric technology demonstrator, known as E-Fan X, is anticipated to fly in 2020 provisionally on a BAe 146 flying testbed. One of the aircraft’s four engines will be replaced by a 2MW electric motor. Provisions will be made to replace a second gas turbine with an electric motor once system maturity has been proven. Partnership roles comprise:
- Airbus will hold responsibility for overall integration as well as the control architecture of the hybrid-electric propulsion system and batteries, and its integration with flight controls;
- Rolls-Royce will be responsible for the turbo-shaft engine, 2MW generator, and power electronics. Along with Airbus, Rolls-Royce will also work on the fan adaptation to the existing nacelle and the Siemens electric motor;
- Siemens will deliver the 2MW electric motors and their power electronic control unit, as well as the inverter, DC/DC converter, and power distribution system.
The project comes on top of the E-Aircraft Systems House collaboration between Airbus and Siemens, launched in 2016, which aims at development and maturation of various electric propulsion system components and their terrestrial demonstration across various power classes. [more – original PR]