Leonardo Tests New Technologies for Sustainable Flight on C-27J Aircraft

The test featured shape-changing surfaces, Innovative Wingtips and Morphing Winglets, using active, adaptive tech and digital systems.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 10:56 AM, February 20, 2024
  • 1237
Leonardo Tests New Technologies for Sustainable Flight on C-27J Aircraft
C-27J Flying Test Bed @Leonardo

Leonardo has conducted the debut flight of a European technological demonstrator integrated into its C-27J aircraft at Turin's Caselle airport.

The Regional Integrated Aircraft Demonstration Platform (REG IADP) campaign, part of the European Clean Sky 2 programme, was concluded.

The C-27J Flying Test Bed, a technological demonstration aircraft, focused on testing morphing surfaces with adaptive technologies and digital flight control algorithms. The 10-year development cycle involved coordination by Leonardo, engaging over 100 partners, including SMEs, Research Centres, Universities, and Industries.

Leonardo utilized its C-27J Spartan aircraft as a European Flying Test Bed to experiment with innovative wing configurations. The test featured special mobile surfaces - Innovative Wingtips and Morphing Winglets - capable of changing shape during flight through active, adaptive technology and digital systems.

The WingTip, with a mobile part measuring about 80 centimeters, can rotate by up to ±15 degrees, while the Winglet is a vertical flap about 1 meter high at the wing's tip, composed of two independent mobile parts, each with a maximum rotation of +5 to -15 degrees.

The availability of experimental data is expected to be a strategic technological asset, potentially contributing to the development of artificial intelligence algorithms for flight controls and future digital systems.

This follows another milestone under the European Clean Sky 2 programme: the new fuselage Pax Cabin Demonstrator. This full-scale demonstrator, measuring 7.3 meters in length and having a diameter of 3.4 meters, aims to improve onboard comfort with innovative environmental conditioning solutions and cabin components.

The research program and technological demonstrators were co-financed by the European Union within the Horizon 2020 program, contributing to the European Commission's goal of achieving climate neutrality in air transportation by 2050. The technologies developed aim to guarantee a net reduction in greenhouse gases of at least 30% over the state of the art in 2020, with a focus on a new generation of low-emission aircraft by 2035 and the replacement of 75% of the world's civil aviation fleet by 2050.

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