Dufour reveals final design of Aero2
Dufour Aerospace has released the final design and specifications for its hybrid-electric drone, Aero2.
The Aero2, with its aerodynamically-efficient tilt-wing design, is the precursor to the Aero3, a larger, also tilt-wing aircraft which could potentially support crewed operations. From the original prototype, the design evolved to an H-tail with a larger fuselage and wingspan. At the same time, advancements were made in the hardware and software control systems architecture. Aero2’s flight critical systems are fully redundant, which enables operations in uncontrolled airspace over sparsely populated areas. Once EASA has defined requirements and means of compliance for SAIL VI certification, Dufour plans to apply to this standard to enable operations over populated areas.
Simon Bendrey, head of Design at Dufour Aerospace said: “Aero2 is an uncrewed aerial vehicle without equal. Aero2 is able to transport 40 kg [88 lbs] over a distance of 400 km [215 NM]. The structure and systems have to be safe and aerodynamically efficient and delivering this is not an easy task. I’m especially proud of the hard work of our teams to lock in a design that will meet or exceed our customers’ stringent requirements.”
Dufour is partnering with Suter Industries to test and build its hybrid-electric propulsion system. Currently being tested, it will be integrated into X2.3, the final pre-production prototype.
In May, the company announced it had been selected for a grant of $2.8m from Innosuisse, the innovation agency of the Swiss Confederation. In January, the company closed a Series B financing round led by Vista Global. Whilst in late 2022, Dufour announced Spright, the drone division of Air Methods, will purchase 40 Aero2 with options for an additional 100 units.
Joseph Resnik, president and CEO of Spright said: “Dufour Aerospace is working hard to develop the Aero2, and we have full confidence in their ability to deliver their innovative product. We’ve worked closely with the team at Dufour for more than one year now and are pleased with the progress being made. In close contact with our existing and prospect customers, we see a huge potential for this aircraft, for numerous applications. We can’t wait for serial production to start.”
Flight testing of X2.3 is expected to start early in 2024. The start of series production of Aero2 is planned for 2025.