Sikorsky is producing a Hybrid-Electric Demonstrator (HEX), a fully-autonomous hybrid-electric vertical-take-off-and-landing (eVTOL) prototype. With a maximum gross weight of more than 7,000-pounds, the uncrewed aircraft will serve as a flying test-bed to evaluate large aircraft design, novel propulsion systems and control architectures for sustained hover, and ranges greater than 500 nautical miles.
According to Paul Lemmo, Sikorsky president. “Sikorsky’s HEX aircraft will provide critical insights into the possibilities of electric systems in VTOL aircraft. Ultimately, we want to show the potential of large, advanced air mobility vehicles to perform utility missions for the U.S. military and transport passengers between cities.”
According to a press release:
For the HEX project, GE Aerospace will offer a CT7 turboshaft engine combined with a 1MW-class generator and associated power electronics, building on hybrid electric propulsion systems being developed by GE Aerospace for both NASA and the U.S. Army.
“Bringing innovative technology is a top priority for GE Aerospace,” said Amy Gowder, President and CEO of Defense & Systems at GE Aerospace. “We are committed to developing hybrid electric propulsion systems that save fuel and optimize performance for the military and commercial applications. We are thrilled to build off our existing work with NASA and the Army to offer to power Sikorsky’s HEX aircraft and bolster the future of flight.”
“The Sikorsky Innovations rapid prototyping group will lead the HEX programme, “ continues the release. “Led by its director, Igor Cherepinsky, the Innovations team will design, build and integrate the HEX airframe and electric motors with the company’s MATRIX™ autonomy flight control system.
“Depending on insights learned from the flight test program, and assessment of customer applications, the HEX program could lead to a family of eVTOL vehicles scaled to ca”rry passengers and payload for both military and commercial applications.
According to Vertical Magazine the hybrid-electric demonstrator is under construction with a gross weight of up to 7,000 pounds (3,175 kilograms) and a range in the area of 500 nautical miles (575 mi).
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