PHOTO CAPTION: Full-scale mockup of manned AugustaWestland Project Zero tiltrotor electric aircraft.

Finmeccanica Plans for e-Flight Future

During the Singapore Airshow, Italy's Finmeccanica showcased its Project Zero full-scale, all-electric tilt-rotor mockup aircraft.

Published: 24-Feb-2016

After reorganizing itself into four major aerospace sectors -- helicopters; aeronautics; electronics, defense and security systems; and space -- Italy's Finmeccanica showcased its advanced, all-electric tilt-rotor aircraft concept dubbed Project Zero.

First unveiled in 2013, the company has test flown an unmanned version of the aircraft, as seen in the video below. A fully-operational manned version will have to wait until battery technology improves markedly, but here Finmeccanica is sanguine. Giovanni Soccodato, executive vice president for strategy, markets and business development, recently told AIN:

This is a visionary project, the first fully-electric rotorcraft, and this will be the first time it has been seen outside Europe. It uniquely combines the all-electric approach, an advanced tiltrotor concept and remotely controlled capability. It is the first aircraft of its type to demonstrate individual blade control, plus it has zero emissions and almost zero noise.”

Soccodato went on to explain the program "involves multiple Finmeccanica businesses and collaborative efforts with partners across Europe, North America and Asia.

“In ten years, the energy density of rechargeable batteries will improve by one order of magnitude [and] then we will see large, fully-electric powered aircraft taking off and landing vertically. We want to be ready."

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