RTX hybrid-electric propulsion motor to be tested on Dash 8-100 in 2024

RTX hybrid electric motor

RTX has announced a “critical milestone” in its hybrid-electric flight demonstrator program by successfully completing a rated power test of the demonstrator’s 1 megawatt (MW) electric motor, developed by Collins Aerospace. 

The 1MW motor will be combined with a highly efficient thermal engine, developed by Pratt & Whitney, as part of a hybrid-electric propulsion system that aims to demonstrate a 30% improvement in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions compared to today’s most advanced regional turboprops. 

Both Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney are part of the RTX company, along with Raytheon. RTX made the announcement at the first day of the Paris Air Show on June 19, 2023.  

“With its industry-leading power density and efficiency, our 1MW motor will help to significantly reduce aircraft carbon emissions by supporting hybrid-electric propulsion architectures on the next generation of commercial platforms,” said Henry Brooks, president, Power & Controls for Collins Aerospace. “As the motor’s development continues apace, each milestone brings us one step closer to hybrid-electric flight and our industry’s shared commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.” 

Following on from the first low speed engine run at a Pratt & Whitney Canada facility in December 2022, testing of the combined hybrid-electric propulsion system – including both thermal engine and 1MW motor – will now continue through 2023. 

The propulsion system and batteries will be integrated on a De Havilland Canada Dash 8-100 experimental aircraft, with flight testing targeted to begin in 2024. 

RTX hybrid electric motor

Compared to Collins’ most advanced electric motor generators flying today, the 1MW motor will deliver four times the power and twice the voltage, with half the heat loss and half the weight. 

The company is developing the motor at Collins’ facility in Solihull, United Kingdom, and testing it at the University of Nottingham’s Institute for Aerospace Technology. 

“Hybrid-electric propulsion technology offers significant potential to optimize aircraft efficiency across a range of future aircraft applications and is a key part of our technology roadmap for supporting more sustainable aviation,” said Jean Thomassin, executive director new products and services, Pratt & Whitney Canada. “Aside from leveraging the deep expertise of Pratt & Whitney and Collins engineers within RTX, our project draws from extensive collaborations across Canada’s aerospace ecosystem and around the world.” 

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