Zodiac Aero Electric and Saft sign a contract at Paris Air Show to supply batteries for Russia’s Irkut MC-21 passenger jet aircraft

(15/06/2015)
• Three Saft ULM® (Ultra Low Maintenance) Nickel-based batteries will be installed on each Irkut MC-21 aircraft to power the APU and provide emergency backup and buffering. • Approximately 8,000 batteries will be supplied to Zodiac Aero Electric over the next 20 years.

Paris Air Show, June 15, 2015 – Saft, world leader in the design, development and manufacture of high-tech batteries for industry, will sign today June 15th at 2:00pm on Saft booth n°137D/Hall 2B a contract with Zodiac Aero Electric, the world leader in aerospace electrical power management equipment and systems, to supply its ULM® onboard batteries for the Irkut MC-21. The MC-21 is a strategically important project for Russia that further reinforces the country’s plans to develop its own aviation industry.

The MC-21 is a medium-range passenger aircraft that is currently under development by Russian airframe manufacturer Irkut, part of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), with the first flight planned for 2016 and service entry in 2018. The new aircraft is designed to be the best in its class with high levels of fuel efficiency, low weight, low operating costs and a wide body for greater passenger comfort.

Zodiac Aero Electric is delivering the aircraft’s primary power distribution system on behalf of Irkut and has turned to Saft to supply the onboard batteries that will provide safe and reliable power to start the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) and provide emergency backup and buffering for critical systems.

Under the contract, Saft will supply three batteries from its Ultra Low Maintenance (ULM®) range for each aircraft. Nickel-based ULM® batteries are well proven aviation batteries with an established track record with major aircraft and helicopter manufacturers including Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Gulfstream.

ULM® batteries are designed to be lightweight and reliable over a long service life. One major advantage is that they offer extended maintenance intervals leading to significantly reduced operating costs. A team of Saft experts worked in partnership with Zodiac Aero Electric to develop battery systems that met Irkut’s specifications.

The contract builds on Saft’s success in delivering batteries for the Sukhoi Superjet 100, developed by another subsidiary of UAC. Irkut has already received 257 orders for the MC-21 and Saft estimates that more than 8,000 batteries will be delivered specifically for this program over the next 20 years, including aftermarket demand for which Saft will have direct access to.

The battery order for the Irkut MC-21 is a vital development for Saft that reinforces our strong  working relationship with a major player in Russia’s fast growing passenger aircraft industry”, said Antoine Brenier, Saft Aviation International Sales & Marketing Director. “It also confirms our ULM design as the battery technology of choice for new generation aircraft where low maintenance and high performance are vital.”