RAF trials electric Pipistrel two-seater

RAF trials electric aircraft

The RAF has started trials of the electric Pipistrel Velis Electro as a possible training aircraft.

The ‘Pathfinder’ programme is being run by defence supplier Elbit Systems and Affinity Flying Training. It’s split into three phases:

  • Phase 1 in December 2021, test flights took off from Damyn’s Hall, Essex, and continued into January 2022
  • Phase 2 started in March 2022, and saw the aircraft join Affinity’s existing fleet at RAF Cranwell, where up to 20 additional pilots will fly the 100% electric aircraft
  • Phase 3 of the flight trials will welcome senior government officials and observers.

Martin Fausset, CEO of Elbit Systems UK, said, “We are delighted to be leading this exciting initiative with the Ministry of Defence.

“The concept of zero emissions aircraft being utilised by the RAF has always been considered hypothetical and we are proud to have proposed and delivered initial capability for this pathfinder.”

Elbit Systems UK employs more than 600 personnel in high tech roles in the defence, aerospace and rail sectors. Among others, it delivers the Watchkeeper drone programme for the British Army and supplies three fleets of aircraft within the UK MOD Military Flying Training System.

Elbit Systems UK


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