Electrical systems and power electronics: towards more electric aircraft

Safran’s comprehensive expertise in aircraft electrical systems is a key driver in the development of a “more electric” aircraft that is more economical, more reliable and less polluting.

The more electric aircraft: a leap forward

Safran Electrical & Power est leader mondial en termes d’offres de solutions de câblage électrique pour le marché aérospatial mondial : services d’ingénierie, de fabrication et d’installation.
Manufacture of an electrical harness

The idea behind more electric aircraft is to gradually introduce electrical systems to replace onboard hydraulic and pneumatic systems used to power the landing gear, brakes, flight controls and thrust reversers, as well as for cabin pressurization and to start the engines.

The key areas of research for more electric aircraft are as follows:

  • The switch from alternating-current (AC) to direct-current (DC) power distribution, to allow exchanges of energy between equipment.
  • Limiting energy losses and electromagnetic interference.
  • Development of materials capable of withstanding very high temperatures (above 200°C).

SPEC: a research hub

Created in 2005, SPEC (Safran Power Electronics Center) acts as a focal point for all of the Group's basic research into more electric aircraft. It teams up with research institutions in France and abroad, as well as partnering innovative small businesses.

Copper Bird: a test rig dedicated to more electric aircraft

To test proposed equipment designs under near-real conditions, Safran has developed a modular test rig known as Copper Bird ("Characterization & Optimization of Power Plant & Equipment Rig"). Located in the Paris area, the rig tests the stability of onboard electrical networks, and simulates the integration of different electrical systems and equipment. It also measures power quality and network stability. In more general terms, it can be used to demonstrate the maturity of systems and technologies developed for more electric aircraft.

 

A unique system integration tool in Europe, a modular rig dedicated to development, optimization and testing of electric networks for an aircraft and the propulsion system (engine and nacelle).
The Copper Bird test rig

 

A comprehensive electrical systems offering

Fully committed to the aircraft energy revolution, Safran has restructured activities and implemented a targeted acquisition policy to ensure that our capabilities span the entire power supply chain for civil and military aircraft.

Our restructured organization is designed to meet planemakers' needs for integrated solutions and complete systems that are safe, reliable and environmentally friendly. As a result, Safran is now a global leader in electrical wiring interconnection systems for aircraft.

Safran grouped all of its electrical power system expertise within a single company, Safran Electrical & Power, creating a genuine center of excellence for the aviation market.