Skip to content

HaiExpo23 | Helicopters | Sikorsky

Sikorsky Launches a Heavy Hybrid-Electric Demonstrator Program

Sikorsky Hybrid-Electric Demonstrator (HEX) is a fully-autonomous hybrid-electric vertical-take-off-and-landing (eVTOL) prototype with a maximum gross weight exceeding 7,000 pounds. The HEX airframe and electric motors will be integrated with Sikorsky's MATRIX autonomy flight control system.
Sikorsky Hybrid-Electric Demonstrator (HEX) is a fully-autonomous hybrid-electric vertical-take-off-and-landing (eVTOL) prototype with a maximum gross weight exceeding 7,000 pounds. The HEX airframe and electric motors will be integrated with Sikorsky's MATRIX autonomy flight control system.

The HEX demonstrator will serve as a flying test-bed to evaluate large aircraft design, novel propulsion systems and control architectures for sustained hover, and ranges greater than 500 nautical miles.

“As Sikorsky celebrates 100 years of flight innovations, it’s fitting to highlight our continued commitment to safe and sustainable transformative flight,” said Paul Lemmo, Sikorsky president. “Sikorsky’s HEX aircraft will provide critical insights into the possibilities of electric systems in VTOL aircraft. Ultimately, we want to show the potential of large, advanced air mobility vehicles to perform utility missions for the U.S. military and transport passengers between cities.”

For the HEX project, GE Aerospace will offer a CT7 turboshaft engine combined with a 1MW-class generator and associated power electronics, building on hybrid electric propulsion systems being developed by GE Aerospace for both NASA and the U.S. Army.

Paul Lemmo, Sikorsky President and Amy Gowder, President and CEO of Defense & Systems at GE Aerospace announce Long-Range Hybrid-Electric VTOL Demonstrator

“Bringing innovative technology is a top priority for GE Aerospace,” said Amy Gowder, President and CEO of Defense & Systems at GE Aerospace. “We are committed to developing hybrid electric propulsion systems that save fuel and optimize performance for the military and commercial applications. We are thrilled to build off our existing work with NASA and the Army to offer to power Sikorsky’s HEX aircraft and bolster the future of flight.”

Depending on insights learned from the flight test program, and assessment of customer applications, the HEX program could lead to a family of eVTOL vehicles scaled to carry passengers and payload for both military and commercial applications.

During the U.S. Army’s Project Convergence 2022 exercise, a MATRIX-controlled Black Hawk helicopter without pilots or crew on board demonstrated optionally piloted resupply missions.

Sikorsky’s MATRIX™ autonomy system will control flight aboard the HEX aircraft. Developed and tested extensively over the past decade, the software, hardware and sensors that comprise the MATRIX system have demonstrated high flight reliability in low-altitude and obstacle-rich scenarios.