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February 29, 2024

Sikorsky to build hybrid tilt-wing aircraft

Sikorsky A sketch of Sikorsky's tilt-wing VTOL aircraft.

Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky unit will build new hybrid, tilt-wing aircraft, the company announced this week. 

The hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft will feature wings that tilt at different stages of a flight.

The Stratford-based helicopter manufacturer said the aircraft is the first in a series of next-generation vehicles that will utilize more electrical motors and have the ability to fly without a pilot.

Sikorsky last year announced the development of a hybrid-electric demonstrator project dubbed HEX, a fully-autonomous, hybrid-electric, vertical takeoff and landing prototype.

Igor Cherepinsky, director of Sikorsky Innovations, told the Hartford Business Journal late last year that he sees this focus partly as a response to climate change, but also an effort to cut maintenance and other costs — with direct electric drive, there are fewer mechanical components, and also less waste.

“It actually opens up a design space,” he said. “You see the explosion of different-looking aircraft today because of electric flight. Our demonstrator is not going to look like a helicopter.”

Sikorsky is partnering with GE Aviation on designing and building the hybrid power systems.

Other companies including Joby Aviation, Archer Aviation, and Lilium are making smaller versions of VTOL aircraft, often called flying taxis.

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