Safran Electrical & Power will supply the propulsion systems for a family of new fixed-wing electric aircraft being developed by the French start-up Aura Aero. In an April 7 announcement, the companies said the partnership covers the first Integral E light aircraft and the 19-seat electric regional aircraft (ERA) project.
Aura Aero’s Integral E two-seater aerobatic simulator will be equipped with Safran’s EngineUs intelligent electric motor, capable of generating more than 100 kW, and the GeneUsGrid distribution and protection system. The manufacturer expects the prototype to fly for the first time later in 2022 and plans first deliveries in 2023.
The French aeronautical authorities issued the Part 21G approval to Aura Aero last November, marking the first step towards the production of its Integral family of light aircraft. The clearance also allowed the company to pursue its longer-term goal of developing the ERA model.
As part of a memorandum of understanding, the Safran aircraft engines and systems group will also work with the Auro Aero engineering team on the electrical architecture studies for the hybrid-electric ERA. The studies will focus on the high voltage direct current propulsion architecture to deliver the power needed by the electric motors. Work will also focus on the “non-propulsive” electrical architecture used to power the aircraft’s other systems.
Aura Aero plans to fly the ERA for the first time in 2024 and expects commercial service to begin in 2027, about a year later than the company previously announced. In October 2021, airliner leasing group Amadeo signed an interim sales agreement covering 200 of the ERAs, which Aero has designed to fly around 900 miles.
“In every respect, these projects are in line with our strategic ambitions: they integrate disruptive technologies, have a low carbon footprint and are powered by electricity,” said the General Manager and Executive Vice President of the Energy Division. of Safran Electrical & Power. , Hervé Blanc. “This agreement reinforces our position as a key player in the fields of equipment electrification and electric and hybrid propulsion. It is also the collaboration of two Toulouse companies, firmly established in the industrial fabric of the Occitanie region.
France-based Safran now competes directly with British rival Rolls-Royce to provide propulsion for new electric planes. Through its CFM International joint venture with GE Aviation, the company is also involved in plans to develop hydrogen powertrains for new zero-carbon jetliners that Airbus plans to market from 2035.
Aura Aero co-founder and program director Wilfried Dufaud highlighted the value of Safran’s contribution to the project, calling the collaboration “essential” to achieving its schedule goals. “As part of the common objective of industrializing the production of electric aircraft, Safran is bringing its rare know-how in high-voltage networks, necessary for the Integral E and ERA architectures,” he said. “This collaboration demonstrates our common desire to decarbonize the aviation sector.”