Saft, the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of advanced batteries for industry and aerospace applications, with its advanced nickel-based batteries already installed on two-thirds of the world’s fleet of civil and military aircraft, is supplying the on-board batteries for Airbus Helicopters’ twin-turbine EC175 helicopter that has entered series production with the first delivery on December 11th to a Belgian operator. Two Saft Ultra Low Maintenance (ULM®) rechargeable nickel-based batteries are being fitted to each EC175 helicopter to provide emergency back-up power, as well as starting power for the APU (auxiliary power unit).
The new EC175 medium twin-turbine helicopter fits between the Airbus Helicopters EC155 and EC225 ranges, with 16 passenger capacity, 5 blade main-rotor and a 140 kts cruise speed, it is primarily designed for three types of operations: Offshore, SAR (Search & Rescue) and VIP transport.
Helicopter applications are especially demanding for the on-board batteries due to the harsh vibrations and extreme temperatures.
This operating environment becomes even more demanding for SAR deployment as life-saving missions can require the aircraft to fly in severe weather conditions. Saft has worked in close cooperation with the Airbus Helicopters program teams since the beginning of the project to design a custom engineered battery system for the prototype EC175, progressing through qualification and certification milestones in 2012 and now into serial production. The ULM® battery technology was selected as it offers the ideal combination of high performance, low weight and ultra-low maintenance requirements to enable significant reductions in the total cost of ownership (TCO) and operations for helicopter batteries.
“The EC175 program has strengthened the long-standing partnership between Saft and Airbus Helicopters that has previously seen our batteries deployed successfully on helicopters such as the AS350, the EC135 and EC145. It is also reinforcing ULM technology as the standard for nickel-based aviation batteries,” says Antoine Brenier, Saft Aviation, International Sales & Marketing Director.
Two Saft batteries are being fitted to each EC175 version to provide total system redundancy. The 275CH3 battery comprises 20 Saft CVH27 cells, providing a nominal 24 V and 27 Ah capacity at a total weight of just 26.5 kg.
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