BAE Systems has begun flight-test activities with the Pipistrel Velis Electro it bought to support a broader exploration of emission-free operations.
Two flights were conducted with the electric-powered two-seater from Warton in Lancashire last week, says Neil Appleton, head of electric products at BAE Systems Air. The sorties had durations of approximately 36min and 40min.
BAE bought the aircraft – registered as G-EPWR – to help inform its research into all-electric flight.
At the Farnborough air show, Appleton told FlightGlobal that the company plans to expand the Velis Electro’s flight envelope over the coming 10 weeks, and to assess the performance and charging characteristics of its battery.
BAE’s investment in electric aircraft projects also includes pacts with Embraer-backed Eve and Malloy Aeronautics.
Appleton says studies conducted by the UK company over the last six months have identified 165 potential military use cases for such equipment.
“The challenge is where do you want to start, just to bring that to life?,” he says. “We are going through trying to understand what the customer may use these for, and then want to get the capability into their hands as quickly as possible, and work out once we’ve got in that minimum entry capability how we can expand from there.”