Previously known as the BEHA 6, 8 and X concepts, the company has now created three separate variants targeting specific markets and pushing the boundaries once more, by offering more range, payload capability and lower cost of operations than their competitors.
The BEHA H1 now replaces the BEHA Six and Eight as the hybrid model of the BEHA product line up. To date the programme has focused on hybrid/electric propulsion and the new Hybraero H600 hybrid propulsion engine (in joint venture with PRODRIVE) will deliver market leading power to weight capability and low cost of operations. The aircraft's e-motors and ICE engine can deliver 600hp in combination, with fuel burn expected to be in single digits per hour.
This aircraft will come in 6-10 seat configurations, from VIP to corporate shuttle, from cargo to patrol variant. The aircraft's unique 'triple box-wing' configuration allows extremely short take-off and landing capability (now being termed E-STOL) whilst also allowing the aircraft to lift large payloads. BEHA can operate from any surface, needing less than 200 meters to take off and land. The all carbon composite aircraft utilises integrated solar panels for on-board system power when parked and includes noise reduction technologies via the duct/shrouded prop and the fan/propeller.
The aircraft will deliver up to 10 minutes of pure electric propulsion, which can either be used to reduce noise, emissions and fuel burn at take-off, or as a safety back-up in event of primary internal combustion engine stoppage. The aircraft is JetA/Biofuel capable, can fly in excess of 160 knots at cruise speed and able to fly further than 1000nm (nautical miles). At 40 knots the aircraft does not stall, even at 16 degrees angle of attack, as proven by the aerospace engineering team at Cranfield University.
This new model, announced exclusively as part of the Urban Air Mobility presentation by Faradair® in the Insight Theatre of Hall 4 at the Farnborough International Airshow today, is the ALL-ELECTRIC powered BEHA, capable of all the same flight characteristics of the H1 model, but with ZERO emissions and noise output levels forecasted to be less than 60db (noise level of a small office).
The revolutionary wing design of the BEHA, allows the aircraft to lift considerably heavier payloads than competing aircraft and as a result, the airframe can carry more batteries, enabling it to fly in excess of 2 hours on pure electric power, re-charged via fast charger within 20 minutes at airfields.
"We are delighted to be able to finally reveal a capability of the aircraft and the programme that we have been protecting for nearly two years. When we knew we could lift some heavy loads, we have always known that for the foreseeable future, batteries will remain heavy, even in solid state configuration and yet our BEHA can lift a viable load, to allow decent range capability and thus lowering the operational cost and noise footprint further from the hybrid variant." Managing Director of Faradair® Neil Cloughley said.
"Certain parts of the world have expressed their desire for a full electric version of the BEHA and we are pleased to be able to offer the BEHA E1 as a viable contender into this market. After all, having been formed for several years before all the headline grabbing American electric aircraft companies, it is high time they had some British competition"
The twin 150kw e-motor BEHA E1 is expected to fly in 2021, alongside the BEHA H1 hybrid prototype.
The second new variant announcement is a non-civilian version of the BEHA to be designated the 'M1', powered by a traditional turboprop with e-motor hybrid capability.
Studies have shown that with a 2000hp Turboprop in the back of the BEHA, the airframe could lift a payload in excess of 10 tonnes. The aircraft will be a true 'multi-role' load lifter, generating low noise, radar and heat signatures, being manned or unmanned flight capable with full autonomous capability.
The aircraft is specifically designed to be used by various force elements as a core air platform, but with quick change and mission change capability, allowing the operational engineering support costs to be lower than helicopter operations. The aircraft has the ability to lift a heavy payload, be that equipment, fuel, supplies, personnel or munitions, whilst still taking off in less than 200 meters depending on specific payload.
"With our family history pioneering the UAV sector, this really is an exciting development for us. I always knew the BEHA could be a phenomenal military asset, able to deliver low cost AEW, ASW, SAR, ISTAR, Light tactical support, logistics supply and a range of other roles including potential ability for refuelling and long duration UAV operations. The aircraft has already attracted Special Forces interest and we are currently exploring a number of specific roles for the first prototype aircraft. Imagine the ability for multiple BEHA M1's to deliver beyond the horizon radar cover protection or refuelling capability for the UK's new aircraft carriers. This little aircraft is going to surprise a lot of people and we are looking forward to selecting a turboprop partner to begin development with" said Mr Cloughley.
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