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LONDON: November 28, 2017. Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens are to develop and fly an hybrid-electric powered BAe-146 test aircraft by 2020 to determine the feasibility of the technology for future commercial aircraft.

The three companies said the 'E-Fan X' technology demonstrator would fly initially with one of the aircraft's four gas turbine engines replaced by a two-megawatt electric motor with the intention to replace a second engine over time.

Electric 146"We see hybrid-electric propulsion as a compelling technology for the future of aviation," declared Paul Eremenko, CTO of Airbus.

Airbus will be responsible for overall project integration and control architecture of the hybrid-electric propulsion system; Rolls-Royce will provide the turbo-shaft engine, two megawatt generator and power electronics; and Siemens the two megawatt electric motors and their power electronic control unit.

"The E-Fan X is an important next step in our goal of making electric flight a reality in the foreseeable future. The lessons we learned from a long history of electric flight demonstrators, starting with the Cri-Cri, including the e-Genius, E-Star, and culminating most recently with the E-Fan 1.2 - as well as the fruits of the E-Aircraft Systems House collaboration with Siemens - will pave the way to a hybrid single-aisle commercial aircraft that is safe, efficient, and cost-effective," explained Eremenko.

Last year Airbus and Siemens launched a separate program to develop and demonstrate electric propulsion components across several power classes.

In addition to testing the application of electric-powered engines on commercial aircraft, the BAe 146 E-Fan X program also aims to determine future certification requirements.

Rolls-Royce CTO Paul Stein added: "The E-Fan X enables us to build on our wealth of electrical expertise to revolutionize flight and welcome in the third generation of aviation. This is an exciting time for us as this technological advancement will result in Rolls-Royce creating the world's most powerful flying generator."

The three partners said electric and hybrid-electric propulsion is seen as among the most promising technologies to meet EU aviation environmental goals of a 75 percent reduction in CO2, a 90 percent drop in NOx and a 65 percent reduction in aircraft noise levels.

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