Collins Aerospace is to begin fabrication of electric motors for the Airlander 10 airship, in a step towards zero emission aviation.

HAV (Hybrid Air Vehicles) has announced the completion of the E-HAV1 critical design review and the fabrication of the 500 kilowatt electric motor for Airlander 10. The E-HAV1 programme is a partnership between HAV, Collins Aerospace, and the University of Nottingham.

Flight qualification testing of the motor is expected to take place in 2023, followed by hybrid-electric operation of Airlander 10 by 2025. This will be followed by all-electric, zero-emission operation by 2030. To achieve zero emissions, the aircraft’s four fuel-burning engines will be replaced by electric motors—beginning with the two forward engines in 2025 and the two rear engines in 2030.

Collins is designing and testing the motor at its Electronic Controls and Motor Systems Centre of Excellence in Solihull. The company has recently invested $18 million to expand the campus and increase its power electronics and motor development capabilities.

Airlander will advance “new generation of efficient propulsion technologies”

Marc Holme, Senior Director, Electronic Controls and Motor Systems, Collins Aerospace said: “The Airlander programme will address key goals of the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy: strengthening the UK’s aerospace capabilities, positioning the UK for developing future generations of civil aircraft, and advancing a new generation of efficient propulsion technologies.”

He added: “The Aerospace Technology Institute has clearly identified the importance of technology developments to support sustainable aviation through the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy, Accelerating Ambition. The Hybrid Air Vehicles Airlander 10 offers a unique opportunity to deploy innovative, high performance motor technology from Collins Aerospace initially in hybrid propulsion and, in the future, all electric propulsion configurations. These technology developments will enable economic growth and jobs in the UK aerospace sector.”

Mark Scully, Head of Technology – Advanced Systems & Propulsion at the Aerospace Technology Institute added: “E-HAV1 is co-funded by the ATI Programme, a joint UK Government and industry investment to maintain and grow the UK’s competitive position in civil aerospace design and manufacture. It is delivered through a partnership between the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and Innovate UK and address technology, capability, and supply chain challenges.”

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