Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI) has begun working on the development of green energy solutions for the future development of electrically powered aircraft, combining environmental benefits together with longer ranges and endurance and with significant fuel cost savings.
The demand for electrically powered aircraft is projected to reach hundreds of aircrafts per year within the next decade, covering a range of sizes and mission profiles. The growing use of electric propulsion is expected to save hundreds of millions of dollars in fuel and maintenance costs. Environmental benefits include significant reduction of air pollution and noise levels. While today’s electrical power is mainly limited to very light aircraft, IAI estimates that as the technology continues to mature, the market will diversify also to short-range passenger airplanes and other configurations.
IAI’s experience in electric power systems for unmanned aerial vehicles spans many years. Some of the products developed by IAI include the Panther and Mini Panther UAVs, vertical takeoff and landing Unmanned Airborne Vehicles as well as the Bird Eye 650 reconnaissance vehicle.
In recent years, IAI has been investing heavily in R&D of electric power systems, including engines, batteries and energy sources. It also monitors closely the developments, integration and demonstration of advanced technologies in this arena. Together with IAI’s in-house developments, it is also considering potential collaborations with a startup company in his most upcoming and challenging field of electrically powered aircraft.
Moshe Medina, Vice President of IAI Engineering and Development Group, said, “The aviation world is about to enter a new era of electric propulsion. The significant improvement of electrical power sources for the cellular communication and electric cars may prove to have a positive effect on the reliability and efficiency of the electrical power system. These, in turn, can make the electric aircraft ‘the next big trend’ in the world of aviation. Electric airplanes are greener, quieter, reliable and more economical. While many technological challenges need to be addressed as part of the development and certification, IAI’s extensive experience allows us to develop a solution kit for building the world’s most efficient electrical aircraft. We are nearing the completion of the characterization and conceptual design phase and will focus on the areas in which we see the strongest business potential.”