Raytheon Completes First Engine Run of Hybrid-Electric Flight Demonstrator
Raytheon Technologies completed the first engine run of the company's regional hybrid-electric flight demonstrator last month, a key milestone toward flight testing, targeted to begin in 2024.
The propulsion system's initial run took place at Pratt & Whitney's innovation facility in Longueuil, Quebec and performed as expected. The system fully integrates a 1-megawatt (MW) electric motor developed by Collins Aerospace with a Pratt & Whitney fuel-burning engine, specially adapted for hybrid-electric operation.
This powerplant technology is expected to enable more efficient engine performance during the different phases of flight, such as take-off, climb and cruise, reducing fuel burn and CO2 emissions by up to 30 percent compared to today's most advanced regional turboprop aircraft, according to Raytheon.
"Hybrid-electric propulsion technology offers significant potential to optimize efficiency across a range of different aircraft applications, helping our industry meet its ambitious goal for achieving net zero CO2 emissions," said Jean Thomassin, Executive Director New Products and Services, Pratt & Whitney Canada. "With our ground test program now well underway, planned flight testing will enable us to accelerate the demonstration of this next generation sustainable propulsion technology."
Since Raytheon Technologies launched the demonstrator project via its Pratt & Whitney Canada and Collins Aerospace businesses in July 2021, supported by the Governments of Canada and Quebec, numerous organizations in Canada and around the world have also joined the initiative.
H55 S.A., recently the subject of a minority investment by Raytheon Technologies' venture capital arm, RTX Ventures, will supply battery systems for the demonstrator. The development of battery component designs and associated electrical control systems will also be supported by the National Research Council of Canada and the Innovative Vehicle Institute.
Ricardo PLC is also supporting the project with component design, system integration, and testing. De Havilland Canada is supporting integration of the propulsion system on the experimental aircraft.
Raytheon Technologies is leading the development of hybrid-electric propulsion technologies across multiple demonstrator programs, including STEP-Tech and SWITCH, spanning a wide range of potential future aircraft applications.
Flight Test Centre of Excellence (Cert Center Canada - 3C), will modify and operate the De Havilland Canada Dash 8-100 aircraft, serving as the platform for future flight demonstrations.