This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
A UV-C light system will soon be available for disinfecting aircraft interiors, according to Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), which has been fast-tracking deployment of the technology to combat Covid-19 infection in hospitals. According to the company, the robot-based system is suitable for use in any size of aircraft, having already been tested in a widebody cargo airliner and a helicopter.
The equipment uses a 254-nanometer electromagnetic wave that is shorter than a visual wavelength and longer than an x-ray wavelength. Research has proven its ability to kill any germ or virus, IAI said.
In an aircraft, the robot can move between seats in straight lines and lights on electronically-controlled arms move across all exposed surfaces, such as seats and other cabin fittings. Unexposed surfaces beneath those items would still have to be manually cleaned with chemicals.
For an airliner, the 12-inch-wide robot can move up and down standard aisles between seats. In a smaller aircraft, such as a business jet, one or more stationary units, which were originally designed for hospital rooms, would be deployed.
According to an IAI spokesman, it would take between 30 and 40 minutes to disinfect a widebody aircraft. He said the company remains “a few months” away from being able to deliver the equipment to the aviation sector and is currently exploring what regulatory requirements would apply to its use.
IAI expects to market the system to aircraft operators and maintenance, repair, and overhaul providers. It has yet to announce pricing for the equipment. The company started work on the technology soon after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. In March, it demonstrated the system in two Israeli hospitals.