Home > Blog > China’s COMAC C919 jetliner makes its maiden flight with Saft ULM batteries on board

On May 5 2017, COMAC’s C919, the largest commercial jetliner designed and built in China, completed its maiden flight with Saft’s specialized aviation batteries on board. This follows the decision by AUAE (Xi’an AVIC Hamilton Sundstrand Aviation Electric Co., Ltd.) to place a multi-million dollar contract with Saft to supply ULM batteries for every C919 built over the next 20 years.

The C919, manufactured by the state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) is a strategically important project that further reinforces the country’s plans to develop its own aviation industry. The new aircraft has more than 150 seats and a range of 4,075 kilometers and is intended to compete with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 single-aisle jetliners. COMAC has reported 570 orders from 23 buyers, with sales expected to exceed 2,000 over the next 20 years.

“The C919 is taking China into a new era of commercial aviation. To ensure its success it is vital that COMAC has total confidence in the performance and reliability of every onboard system. We are pleased to be working with Saft in this endeavor” said Steven Kotso, General Manager of AUAE.

Under the contract with AUAE, Saft will supply two 44 Ah batteries from its Ultra Low Maintenance range for each C919 aircraft. They will provide safe and reliable power to start the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) as well as emergency backup for critical systems.

“The choice of Saft batteries for the C919 is an important milestone that reinforces our strong working relationship with a major player in China’s fast growing passenger aircraft industry”, said Antoine Brenier, Saft Aviation International Sales & Marketing Director.

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. The ULM battery technology was selected as it offers the ideal combination of high performance, low weight and ultra-low maintenance requirements that enable significant reductions in the total cost of ownership (TCO) for commercial aircraft.

AUAE is a 50-50 joint venture established by UTC Aerospace Systems’ Hamilton Sundstrand Holdings, Inc. and AVIC EM’s subsidiary Shaanxi Aero Electric Co., Ltd.


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