Britten-Norman and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions to merge and create zero-emissions aircraft

Britten-Norman and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions to merge and create zero-emissions aircraft

April 27, 2023 0 By John Max

The UK companies intend to form a new company to accelerate the development of green flight.

In an industry first to advance the development of zero-emissions aircraft, a Heads of Terms agreement has been signed by Britten-Norman and Cranfield Aerospace Solutions for the purpose of merging and creating the world’s first fully integrated, zero-emissions sub regional aircraft, which they intend to enter in to service in 2026.

The merger brings together two powerful companies in the aviation industry.

Britten-Norman is one of the world’s best sub-regional aircraft manufacturers that specializes in twin-engine piston and turboprop STOL aircraft. The company manufactures the iconic Islander aircraft. Cranfield Aerospace Solution (CAeS), which was created out of Cranfield University, is regarded as an aviation pioneer and is developing a hydrogen-electric fuel cell propulsion system.

According to a recent news release from Britten-Norman, the new entity that will result from the merger of both companies is in response to the ever-increasing demand from airlines and operators who want an OEM-backed aircraft that will allow them to transition to zero-emissions aircraft operations.

The zero-emissions aircraft will feature CAeS’ H2 propulsion system and Britten-Norman aircraft technology.

CAeS’ pioneering development of a hydrogen-electric fuel cell propulsion system is being combined with Britten-Norman’s aircraft technology. The plan is for the aircraft to be certified for passenger-carrying service for 2026.

Zero-Emissions Aircraft - Developing the world's first zero emissions #Hydrogen #Aircraft - Cranfield Aerospace Solutions - Cranfield Aerospace Solutions Ltd YouTube

The Britten-Norman Islander is a nine-seat regional aircraft that is largely used by operators worldwide for inter-island services and short hop operations. The aircraft is in high demand for its proven ability to operate from smaller airports and short airstrips in all types of weather.

The goal of the companies isn’t only to provide an Islander hydrogen-electric powered zero-emission aircraft, but also to design and manufacture a new “clean sheet” aircraft with up to 100 seats and powered using zero carbon tech.

The merger should be completed by mid-2023.

hydrogen news ebookCAeS and Britten-Norman have been collaborating on Project Fresson for more than 2 years. This project was set up to develop the technologies that are necessary to enable the zero-emissions aircraft H2 propulsion system for the Islander. Project Fresson has been supported by the UK Government through the UK Aerospace Technology Institute and has also secured £14+ million ($17.4+ million) in private funding from global investors.

By the middle of the year, the merger between the two companies is expected to be completed, subject to final due diligence.

“This deal accelerates our roadmap for the introduction of new zero-emissions aircraft,” said Cranfield Aerospace Chief Executive Paul Hutton.

“As other sectors decarbonise quickly, it is imperative that the aviation industry accelerates its own transition to new, clean aircraft. Looking to the future we will use the combined experience of Cranfield Aerospace and Britten-Norman to produce an entirely new aircraft design, optimised around hydrogen fuel cell technology.”

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