A Swiss eVTOL company, Dufour Aerospace, has finalized the design and specifications of its Aero2 hybrid-electric tilting vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) uncrewed aircraft system (UAS).
The Aero2 is an uncrewed aerial vehicle with a hybrid-electric propulsion system and an aerodynamically efficient tilt-wing design. The upgraded version evolved from a conventional tail to an H-tail with a larger fuselage and wingspan and a wing profile optimized for its likely missions, such as critical goods transport, aerial surveying beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), and public safety applications.
It is equipped with hybrid-electric propulsion for increased range, and its essential flight systems are fully redundant. This will enable operations in uncontrolled airspace over sparsely populated areas, as per EASA’s Specific Assurance and Integrity Level IV (SAIL IV).
Aero2 promises a range of more than 215 nautical miles (400 km) while carrying a maximum payload of 88 pounds (40 kg).
The company is currently carrying out the final tests for its hybrid-electric propulsion system by Suter Industries. It will be integrated into X2.3, which will be the final pre-production prototype before the commercial Aero2 aircraft.
Dufour Aerospace is now ordering materials required to build X2.3, the last Aero2 prototype before the entry-into-service aircraft. X2.3 will be able to demonstrate the full flight envelope and the performance of the hybrid system. Flight testing of X2.3 is expected to start early in 2024. The start of the series production of Aero2 is planned for 2025.
The Aero2 is the precursor to the Aero3, a larger tilt-wing aircraft that could support options for uncrewed or crewed operations. It will be able to carry up to 1,650 pounds (750 kg) of cargo over more than 630 miles (1,020 km).