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Laurent Pascal / CAPA Pictures / Safran

Safran validates Eco Mode helicopter hybrid propulsion concept

Safran Helicopter Engines has validated its Eco Mode hybrid propulsion system during ground tests in Bordes, France, in preparation for upcoming flight tests on the Airbus Racer high-speed helicopter demonstrator. The hybrid electric propulsion mode was tested for the first time in a configuration similar to the one that will be used on the Racer.

Designed for twin-engine helicopters, Eco Mode places one engine on standby during cruise, while the other operates at a more energy-efficient power setting. This mode reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by about 15% and increases the helicopter’s range. The engine is automatically restored to full power by an innovative electric fast restart system, within just a few seconds, when needed for landing or during an emergency.

The Racer’s Eco Mode uses an Aneto-1A engine and the fast restart electrical system developed jointly with Aquitaine Electronique (AECE Group) and Safran Cabin (Ventilation Systems). This system combines an electronic engine control with a high-power-density electric motor, mechanically connected to the engine’s high pressure section.

Eco Mode was developed as part of a research project funded by the French civil aviation authority (DGAC). The twin Aneto-1A engines, each rated at 2,500 shaft horsepower, will play a key role in the Racer’s performance, particularly its ability to reach and maintain a long-range cruising speed of up to 400 km/h.

Safran is an international high-technology group, operating in the aviation (propulsion, equipment and interiors), defense and space markets. Its core purpose is to contribute to a safer, more sustainable world, where air transport is more environmentally friendly, comfortable and accessible. Safran has a global presence, with 83 000 employees and sales of 19.0 billion euros in 2022, and holds, alone or in partnership, world or regional leadership positions in its core markets. Safran is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange and is part of the CAC 40 and Euro Stoxx 50 indices.

Safran Helicopter Engines is the world’s leading manufacturer of helicopter engines, with more than 75,000 produced since being founded. It offers the widest range of helicopter turboshafts in the world and has more than 2,500 customers in 155 countries.

Source: Safran

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