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CIAM to present the first Russian electric aircraft at MAKS 2021

19 July 2021

CIAM to present the first Russian electric aircraft at MAKS 2021

Flying testbeds with hybrid and fully electric power plants will be some of the main display items of the Central Institute of Aviation Motors (CIAM, a part of the National Research Center “Zhukovsky Institute”) at the MAKS-2021 International Aviation and Space Salon. The aircraft will be presented at the joint exhibition of the National Research Center “Zhukovsky Institute” organizations.

The use of high-efficient low-noise hybrid (HPP) and electric (EPP) power plants is aimed at improving economic and environmental aircraft performance. Besides that, it will also allow to implement principally new aircraft architectures (such as vertical or ultrashort takeoff and landing). The latter will contribute to the evolvement of new qualities and transportation, economic and environmental performance enhancement.

CIAM was among the first ones in Russia to conduct comprehensive research for the evaluation of advantages of EPP and HPP use at aircraft. The Institute’s experts gained an extensive experience in the evaluation of efficiency of such power plants for various aircraft, mathematical model development, the creation of HPP and EPP technology demonstrators, and their testing.

The visitors of MAKS-2021 will be able to see the Yak-40LL flight laboratory, an aircraft equipped with a hybrid power plant developed by CIAM. Its first ground testing was carried out in February this year at the Siberian Aeronautical Research Institute (also part of the National Research Center “Zhukovsky Institute”). The HPP complementing the aircraft’s two turbojet engines consists of an electric motor with a power of 500 kW (680 h.p.), a power source supplying power to the motor and including a commercial turboshaft engine with an electric generator and a rechargeable battery unit. The unique feature of the Russian electric motor is the utilization of high-temperature superconductivity technologies and cryogenic cooling. The use of this technology in future aircraft will allow to reduce fuel consumption by 5-30% compared to traditional technical solutions.

A fully electric power plant developed by CIAM for the ultralight manned Sigma-4 aircraft will be presented to wide audience for the first time. The Sigma-4 aircraft is intended for pilots’ training, tourist and training flights, aerial photography, and other aerial services. It was equipped with an electric motor with a maximum power of 80 kW (109 h.p.). A rechargeable battery unit consisting of lithium-ion cells supplies power to the motor.

Some other showpieces presented by the Institute will continue the topic of electric technologies in aero engines. For instance, a EU-RPD350Т power unit demonstrator based on a turbocharged twin-rotor rotary engine with an electric generator. It is designed for use as part of an HPP for vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

A concept of the “Silhouette” complex project, aimed at development of HTSC and cryogenic fuel use in aviation, will also be presented at MAKS-2021. CIAM slates its implementation commencement for 2022. As part of cooperation with the Advanced Research Foundation, it is planned to create a technology demonstrator of a fully superconductive HPP with a power of 2 MW using the experience gained during the 500 kW HPP development.

Technology demonstrators’ development is being carried out by CIAM as the prime research contractor, by request from the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation and in extensive cooperation with Russian enterprises. It is part of the “Electric Aircraft” complex research project coordinated by the National Research Center “Zhukovsky Institute”.

– The hybrid and electric power plants developed at CIAM are at the flight testing stage already. We will be glad to present them to the public at MAKS-2021, – Mikhail Gordin, CIAM’s Director General, says. – Our goal as the prime contractor is to get new knowledge as we create critical technologies, to test the feasibility of new technical solutions and advanced technologies “in hardware”. This knowledge and practical experience that we pass to the industry considerably reduce risks and costs at the design and development stage.

CIAM and UEC-Klimov (part of Rostec’s United Engine Corporation) have recently became partners in the development of a HPP demonstrator with a maximum power of 500 kW. The new HPP featuring a serial design will be based on the VK-650V engine. Power plants of this power class can be used in light utility helicopters, advanced unmanned (optionally also manned) aircraft with a takeoff weight of 2-8 t, commuter aircraft, flying taxis, business aviation, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

– UEC is sure that hybrid and electric power plant research is a promising area, – Yuri Shmotin, UEC’s General Designer notes. – Together with CIAM, we are working closely on an ambitious task: to create a power plant with performance equal to that of traditional engines, but with better environmental and fuel consumption parameters.

MAKS 2021 will be held on July 20-25, 2021, at the Gromov Flight Research Institute in Zhukovsky, Moscow Region, Russia. The advanced aircraft- and engine-building developments by the organizations of the National Research Center “Zhukovsky Institute” will be showcased in pavilion F3, stand А9, and at the static exhibition.