Aura Aero partners with Thales for future electric regional aircraft
Aura Aero has enlisted big names in aeronautics to pilot the future electric regional aircraft. After announcing a partnership with Safran on the architecture and propulsion of its future aircraft in the spring of 2022, the Toulouse manufacturer is announcing this Thursday, February 2, an agreement with Thales to envision its avionics suite specially adapted for the ERA (Electric Regional Aircraft). ) project, “in particular including the cockpit solution, the on-board connectivity solution from a safe location and the digital platform”.
Aura Aero is working on a 19-seat electric regional transport aircraft. Aiming for a 100% electric range of up to 400 km, this device should achieve its goal. First flight in late 2024 scheduled for 2027.
“We are very pleased to be able to form this partnership with Thales, because the development of carbon-free aviation is not limited to propulsion systems only. It also requires many other innovations, including avionics aspects. This goal is the first step and I have no doubt that these innovations will find other applications”, comments Jérémy Caussade, co-founder and president of Aura Aero.
Thales imagines the cockpit of the future
In recent years, Thales has developed a whole range of integrated avionics solutions for aircraft. The most emblematic is the FlytX solution chosen by Airbus Helicopters and DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) to equip the Cheetah, which aims to establish itself as the cockpit of the future and is already the military version of the H160. helicopter.
With this avionics suite, the group aims to reduce volume, weight and power consumption by 30-40% compared to traditional systems. Significant gains due to high level of integration through modular architecture. Thus, aviation manufacturers can customize all functions and visual wraps without re-certifying the avionics, and will also have the ability to connect to other external applications via the tablet.
“The FlytX cockpit system is the ideal solution to support the revolution in uses offered by Aura Aero”says Jean-Paul Ebanga, director of Thales’ flight avionics activities. In addition to the technological breakthrough, connected avionics should also contribute to reducing the environmental footprint by improving interoperability between different Airbus aircraft and optimizing route trajectories.
There are more than 200 pre-orders for his electric plane
Aura Aero, on board Thales, receives strong support to continue developing its electric aircraft project. The young company, founded in 2018, went missing in April 2022 when its two-seater aerobatic aircraft, the Integral R, which was in the process of certification, crashed. However, even though its 19-seater plane has yet to make its maiden flight, the startup continues to benefit from significant interest from airlines. Last October, Aura Aero announced the signing of more than 130 letters of intent from nine airlines for ERA, following a record first mega order of 200 aircraft from leasing company Amedeo.
THERE IScurrently installed in a 3500 m2 hangar near the former Francazal military base, at the location of the first production line, when the workforce exceeds 120 employees, the startup squeezes itself, adding about sixty employees (mainly freelancers) to them. We would like to create Aura campus, new buildings on the area of several tens of thousands of m2 for the assembly of future electric regional aircraft.
In parallel with the design of ERA, Aura Aero continues to work on the certification of its Integrale R aerobatic aircraft. The company still intends to raise about 50 million euros to accelerate its development.