Batteries dedicated to defence for Turgis Gaillard: powering of a logistics electric weapon loader for aviation support

Interview of Patrick GAILLARD – Chief Executive of Turgis Gaillard

Turgis et Gaillard équipement de soutien aéronautique

Turgis Gaillard is a French group specialized in the conception and production of high added value equipment for the defence and aeronautic sectors. Indeed, the company develops systems for armies and manufacturers. It includes aircrafts and land combat vehicles projects, as well as sailing and military ships.

Moreover, the company provides operational support to its customers, whether with the industrial maintenance of sites, aircrafts, vehicles or the development of aviation support devices. It also includes plant equipment and obsolescence management.

Thanks to these two activities, the Turgis Gaillard group gathers more than 400 collaborators and generates a 70 million euros total revenue.

Turgis Gaillard groupe defense

Challenges of the Sefiam 1602 defence battery project

In order to replace an existing device including a diesel engine, Turgis Gaillard has developed an electric lift truck powered with lithium batteries: Sefiam 1602. As an aviation support vehicle, this bomb loader system is used to lift equipment under aircrafts wings and combat drones thanks to the powering of a lift arm. Thus, it is a small-scale vehicle which requires lithium batteries and which is suitable for the defence sector. It has a small footprint to ensure its easy transport in order to answer demanding military requirements.

Moreover, this compacity is necessary to face constraints concerning its environment, specifically tarmacs where are parked more or less massive aircrafts to proceed with. The Sefiam 1602’s area of operation also implies a temperature constraint for its defence lithium battery. Indeed, the extreme climate temperatures must be considered depending on the country where the electric lift truck is used. They can range from -30 °C in the North to + 50 °C in the Middle East. These arguments justify the fact this motorized weapon loader is radio-controlled with a distance monitoring.

The energy density of the Sefiam 1602 also represents a major challenge to reach the expected performances for this vehicle. Indeed, the defence sector primarily uses gears with diesel engine. The transition to electrical vehicles is apprehended because it is wrongly associated to a loss of autonomy and recharge time latencies. Thus, Turgis Gaillard was searching for the manufacturer of defence lithium battery who would be able to provide the expected energy performances and the necessary autonomy to power the Sefiam 1602.

Turgis et Gaillard chariot alimenté par batteries lithium
Turgis et Gaillard système de mise à poste électrique

The collaboration between Turgis Gaillard and TYVA Energie

Turgis Gaillard’s choice concerning the collaboration with a manufacturer of lithium batteries was based on several criteria. Indeed, the defence batteries supplier had to be French besides handling the performance, autonomy and congestion challenges. The Sefiam 1602 will be exported outside France which implies the lithium batteries manufacturer must be subject to the same legal and political constraints than Turgis Gaillard regarding exportation. Moreover, this supplier will have to be agile and reactive to produce a small amount of defence batteries with a high added value.

At the end of the day, the company chose to work with TYVA Energie to power its logistics electric weapon loader with the power of lithium batteries dedicated to defence. The contact was established thanks to a previous collaboration on the SunWave project: an autonomous electric boat developed a few years ago. TYVA Energie has provided technical specifications as well as a pre-study to Turgis Gaillard which led to visits of both factories in Lozère and Ardèche (France). The collaborative work implemented afterwards was possible thanks to Turgis Gaillard’s confidence regarding our Flat & Kube lithium batteries range. It sets itself apart thanks to its exceptional energy density as well as its robustness which are undeniable assets for the defence sector.

The challenge with the manufacturing of Sefiam 1602 could be summed up in three words for Turgis Gaillard and our partners: sovereignty, agility and responsiveness.

Chief Executive of Turgis Gaillard

Defence battery project implementation

TYVA Energie and Turgis Gaillard’s teams have worked together to develop a first prototype in 2019. Thereafter, two more prototypes were made and are still used to this day. The results collected for these two models have led to the planning of a series production with a dozen Sefiam 1602 from 2024. Indeed, Turgis Gaillard’s teams have benefited from custom lithium batteries made from our Flat & Kube range. These are innovative and performing defence batteries suitable to power their electric lift trucks. Thus, the project established in 2019 has resulted in a long-winded collaboration thanks to the efficiency of our energy solutions bringing power and autonomy to Turgis Gaillard’s products.

Benefits of a transition to defence lithium batteries

Turgis et Gaillard chariot élévateur électrique motorisé

Each Sefiam 1602 vehicle is fitted with a lithium battery specifically designed for Turgis Gaillard with a unique energy density. The systems developed bring an answer to the congestion constraints imposed thanks to their suitable format and reduced weight against lead batteries. They are incorporated to Turgis Gaillard’s vehicles developed to host an electric battery unlike the diesel engine equipment they previously used. The transition to lithium has allowed to optimize the architecture with a compact, agile and performing electric lift truck. Thus, the Sefiam 1602 weapon loader has gained in operational efficiency.

Moreover, defence lithium batteries integrated to the lift trucks are particularly silent. They don’t release smoke emissions which means the Sefiam 1602 can be used indoor, in a maintenance hangar for example. Likewise, it can be used outdoor no matter the environment or the temperature. It is possible thanks to the IP65 batteries’ cases as well as their embedded protection systems, allowing them to endure intense heat. Finally, the Sefiam 1602 is an aviation support logistics vehicle which is performing thanks to the lithium batteries providing up to one week of autonomy. All the constraints settled by Turgis Gaillard were fulfilled by TYVA Energie who knew how to respond to efficiency and performance criteria.

What about now?

With the production of a dozen custom defence lithium batteries to power Sefiam 1602 weapon loaders, TYVA Energie and Turgis Gaillard’s collaboration must last for a few more years. These are energy systems with long lifetimes which are also sustainable and reliable. They will be some developments to come in the next coming years in order to maintain the product’s performance.

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