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‘NACRE’ project supporting future aircraft development

The EU-funded NACRE project is working to integrate and validate technologies that will enable new aircraft concepts to be assessed and developed.

Over the past 50 years, the main driver for aircraft design has been to improve operational efficiency, particularly by reducing fuel consumption. Given that air traffic is predicted to more than double in the next 20 years and that both environmental and economic pressures will strongly increase, significant progress will need to be achieved in both improving the efficiency and minimising the environmental impact of aircraft.

Some experts say this may not be achievable with today’s conventional aircraft configuration. In order to provide the step changes required, new aircraft concepts will need to be developed.

Clear objectives

Led by an all-star consortium and headed by Airbus, NACRE (New aircraft concept research) will not concentrate on one specific aircraft concept, but is aimed at developing solutions at a generic aircraft component level (cabin, wing, power plant system, fuselage), which will enable the results to be applicable for a range of new aircraft concepts.

For each of the major aircraft components, multidisciplinary investigations will explore the different associated aspects of aerodynamics, materials, structure, engines and systems with the goal of setting the standards in future aircraft design, thus ensuring improved quality and affordability, whilst meeting the tightening environmental constraints (emission and noise), with a vision of global efficiency of the air transport system.