Sikorsky is currently studying a fully autonomous hybrid-electric demonstrator (HEX) with electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) capabilities. This aircraft will serve as a test bed for the possible creation of a new family of both military and commercial aircraft, with fuel savings and increased range.
A hybrid demonstrator...
Sikorsky is currently studying a fully autonomous, hybrid-electric (HEX) demonstrator with electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) capabilities. With a maximum gross weight of more than 7,000 pounds (more than 3.1 t), the unmanned aircraft will serve as a flying testbed to evaluate large aircraft designs, new propulsion systems and control architectures for sustained hovering, and ranges in excess of 500 nautical miles (926 km).
...HEX with CT7 combined with a 1MW class generator
"Sikorsky's HEX will provide essential information on the possibilities of electric systems on VTOLs (vertical take-off and landing aircraft). 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," said Paul Lemmo, president of Sikorsky. For the HEX project, GE Aerospace will propose a CT7 turboshaft engine combined with a 1MW class generator and associated power electronics, building on hybrid electric propulsion systems developed by GE Aerospace for NASA and the U.S. Army.
Optimising performance for military and commercial applications
"Delivering innovative technologies 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 optimise performance for military and commercial applications. We are excited to build on our current work with NASA and the military to propose powering the Sikorsky HEX aircraft and supporting the future of flight."
A family envisioned
A family of large VTOL aircraft is being considered. Sikorsky Innovations' rapid prototyping group will lead the HEX programme. 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 autonomous flight control system. Based on lessons learned from the flight test programme and evaluation of customer applications, the HEX programme could lead to a family of eVTOL vehicles sized to carry passengers and payload for military and commercial applications.