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Ground Power Units the unsung hero of many an aviator

Ground Power Unit, or GPU for short, is the name given to power supply equipment that provides clean power for both maintenance and engine starting for aircraft that are on the ground.

A good quality GPU is unique in that it provides a very specific “ripple free” or “clean” voltage, this ensures sensitive avionics and control systems within the Aircraft are protected during powered maintenance and engine starting operations.

The term “Ground Power Unit” can refer to a hybrid GPU power supply (typically diesel electric), battery powered GPU (such as lead-acid or lithium batteries) or a direct grid dependant dedicated power supply, generally found in large commercial airports.

Typically, Aircraft Ground Power Units provide 28V DC or 115V 400Hz AC, but APR AFRICA manufacture GPU’s for a wide range of applications, starting from super light 12V DC Lithium based right through to high output 400A Hybrid units. Our Lead acid, hybrid and lithium based starting units are trusted globally to provide reliable, clean power to private, military, mining and commercial application.

Ground power units are also used for aircraft screening and maintenance procedures that need the brief use of an aircraft’s electronic and hydraulic systems. Additionally, they are developed to switch on the plane and put it into its preparatory stages; this is where the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit (APU) is switched on. Usually, an aircraft employs its APU to power it’s electrical, electronic, hydraulic, and related systems; this also applies its APU to start its engines and help them operate on their own power.

Ground power units are usually used in the civilian and military aircraft industries, where they allow for tasks to be accomplished that need a stable and prepared supply of outdoor energy. Civilian uses can consist of parking and hangar transfers, resupplying of aircraft fuel, cargo or material management, and passenger compartment maintenance work. They generally come equipped with the required equipment and tools for power generation and transfers such as cables, converters, and inverters, switch gears, mobile generators, high-power batteries, and electrical management and protection mechanisms.


Gauteng based APR Africa (Aviation Power Resources Africa), led by the highly skilled, highly experienced team of Rodney Benn and Paul Sabatier are proud to announce that they have secured two orders for their medium range, mobile FAST START - 26V Start Pack and 28V DC ground supply units, from a local as well as an International client.

APR Africa is a 100% local power electronics entity who specialise in the design, manufacture, service and maintenance of GROUND BASED POWER equipment and in-aircraft battery packs for medium to large sized fixed wing and rotary wing customers. APR have load test facilities for 3 Phase 400Hz, 115V GPU units up to 120kW, as well as 28kW DC (28V) load tests. All load tests are tested against MIL-STD-704.

Said Paul Sabatier – CTO, “During lockdown, we continued supporting certain aviation clients who had been providing essential services with their ground based power needs. However, even during these tough aviation times, we have secured 2 orders for our FAST START EPU 26-300B (flightline outdoor) standalone Battery Starter which can easily do 10 medium size (PT6 type) turbine starts a day without recharging, and an order for the FAST START EPU 28-330M – our mains driven high power unit for stable and regulated 330 Amp continuous, 28V DC aircraft power whilst under hangar maintenance.

All our GPU units are rugged, robust and reflect our combined over 40 years of aviation and power experience. We supply high capacity 26V DC mobile outdoor battery starter units, as well as hangar-based mobile mains fed power units where continuously stable 28V DC currents of over 330 A are required for Avionics, hydraulics, A/C and other tests on aircraft whilst under maintenance.”

“Especially gratifying is the fact that one of these orders was received from a North African based client who evaluated and chose our product above stiff competition from Europe and America “ said Rodney Benn , CEO of APR AFRICA.

“Over the past 2 years APR AFRICA has provided solid down-to-earth maintenance, servicing and load tests to statutory requirements and have been QA audited to Mil Std as well as local AMO industry standards. Entities such as Global Aerotech, Fireblade, Federal Air, Tynay, United Air Maintenance and Lanseria Jet Centre all rely on APR for their Ground Power needs.

One of APR’s first achievements some 18 months ago was where we designed, produced and commissioned the AHRLAC (Advanced High Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft) production line power units used in the AHRLAC factory at Wonderboom airport.

Looking ahead, APR Africa is set to grow substantially in the next year, with domestic and International air transport now slowly returning to normal ”, said Rodney.



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