New Sikorsky Long-Range Hybrid-Electric VTOL Demonstrator Promises Advances in Military and Commercial Aviation

Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky is set to take the aviation industry by storm with the production of the Hybrid-Electric Demonstrator (HEX), a fully-autonomous hybrid-electric vertical-take-off-and-landing (eVTOL) prototype. With a gross weight of over 7,000-pounds, this uncrewed aircraft will serve as a flying test-bed to evaluate large aircraft design, novel propulsion systems and control architectures for sustained hover, and ranges greater than 500 nautical miles.

“Sikorsky’s HEX aircraft will provide critical insights into the possibilities of electric systems in VTOL aircraft. Ultimately, 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,” says Paul Lemmo, Sikorsky president.

For the HEX project, GE Aerospace will offer a CT7 turboshaft engine combined with a 1MW-class generator and associated power electronics, building on hybrid electric propulsion systems being developed by GE Aerospace for both NASA and the U.S. Army.

Led by its director, Igor Cherepinsky, the Innovations team will design, build and integrate the HEX airframe and electric motors with Sikorsky’s MATRIX™ autonomy flight control system. The MATRIX™ autonomy system will control flight aboard the HEX aircraft. This software, hardware and sensors have demonstrated high flight reliability in low-altitude and obstacle-rich scenarios.

If the HEX program is successful, it could lead to a family of eVTOL vehicles scaled to carry passengers and payload for both military and commercial applications. This marks a significant step in the aviation industry and will help to develop electric systems in VTOL aircraft for the future.

For more information, visit Sikorsky Innovations at www.lockheedmartin.com.

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