Posted on: 15 June 2015 by Mark Howells
The Irkut MC-21, which is scheduled to enter service in 2018, is to have onboard batteries – which start the aircraft’s APU – from Saft as well as a primary power distribution system supplied by Zodiac Aero Electrics.Under a new contract, Saft will supply for each aircraft three lightweight batteries from its nickel-based Ultra Low Maintenance (ULM) range, which also provide emergency backup and buffering for critical systems. ULM batteries have an established record with major aircraft manufacturers including Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier, with the company claiming a major advantage of extended maintenance intervals leading to significantly reduced operating costs.A team of Saft experts worked in partnership with Zodiac Aero Electric to develop battery systems that met Irkut’s specifications. Irkut has already received 257 orders for the MC-21 and Saft estimates that more than 8,000 batteries will be delivered specifically for this programme, including aftermarket demand, over the next 20 years.“The battery order for the MC-21 is a vital development for Saft that reinforces our strong working relationship with a major player in Russia’s fast-growing passenger aircraft industry,” said Antoine Brenier, Saft Aviation’s international sales and marketing director. “It also confirms our ULM design as the battery technology of choice for new generation aircraft where low maintenance and high performance are vital.”Photo shows (left to right): Ghislain Lescuyer, chairman of the management board, Saft, with Bruno Vazzoler, Eric Cotelle and Valéry Dreano from Zodiac Aero Electric.