Electronic-warfare-technology group L3Harris Technologies is teaming with Bye Aerospace to develop a multi-mission version of Bye’s new eFlyer 800 all-electric aircraft. The model, which can seat up to nine people, will be adapted by L3 to carry equipment used for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations, taking advantage of its 1,540-pound payload.
U.S.-based L3Harris offers a range of ISR modification packages, such as its SPYDR Rapid Aircraft Payload Deployment System. The company has previously converted a variety of business aircraft for military missions, including Beech King Airs and Gulfstream G550 jets.
According to Bye Aerospace, the operating costs for the eFlyer 800 will be around one-fifth of those for comparable jet-A-fueled aircraft. However, its maximum range—around 575 miles—will be less than one-third of the range of many aircraft now used for ISR missions.
Denver-based Bye Aerospace indicated that it expects to complete type certification over the next four to six years but said that it already has “customer deposit agreements” from undisclosed air taxi, charter, and cargo operators in the U.S. and Europe.
Like its smaller eFlyer 2 and 4 models, the eFlyer 800 will be powered by a pair of Safran’s Engineus 500 kW (670 HP) motors. These will be supplied with the French company’s GeneusGrid electric distribution and network protection system.
The new model is expected to feature new lithium-sulfur batteries being developed by UK-based Oxis Energy. Bye is aiming for a recharge time of 20 to 30 minutes.
According to Bye, the reduced noise profile of its all-electric aircraft will also prove beneficial for low-altitude missions. The company says that with its smaller eFlyer prototypes it is recording noise levels that are around 30 dB lower than those of comparable piston- or turboprop-powered aircraft.
“These platforms offer sustainability and mission advantages that will benefit a new generation of tactical manned ISR mission aircraft,” said Luke Savoie, aviation services president with L3Harris.