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Long-term Advanced Propulsion Concepts and Technologies II

Tags: Air

State of the Art - Background

Lapcat II is a logical follow-up to the previous EC project Lapcat, which had as its objective: to reduce the antipodal flight duration to less than two to four hours. Among the studied vehicles, of which there were several, only two novel aircraft for Mach 5 and 8 flights are retained in the present proposal.


Beginning with the available Mach 5 vehicle and its related pre-cooled turboramjet, the assumed performance figures of different components will now be assessed in more detail. Once the performance figures are available, the vehicle's performance will be re-assessed. The outcome will allow a detailed development roadmap to be defined.

Although the cruise flight of the Mach 8 vehicle based on a scramjet seemed feasible, the acceleration phase, which relied on an ejector rocket, did not provide an acceptable performance. A turbo-based engine will replace the former ejector rocket to assure better performance and fuel consumption during acceleration. In addition, the integrated design of airframe and engine throughout the whole trajectory is now the prime focus to guarantee a successful outcome.

Description of Work

The important points to be addressed to achieve these goals are:

- the proper development and validation of engine-airframe integration tools and methodology;

- high-speed air-breathing cycle analysis;

- off- and on-design behaviour of engine and airframe;

- dedicated experiments to evaluate the design in various operation points.

The development of validated design and analysis tools result in a realistic pre-design of a fully integrated vehicle able to comply with the mission goals. Then a roadmap will be defined outlining the steps to future developments.

For vehicles flying at high speeds and high altitudes, limited expertise is available on the environmental impact. The influence of NOx and H2O into the ozone layer and the formation of contrails with its direct and indirect effects will be investigated for both vehicles.

Expected Results

The Mach 5 and Mach 8 vehicles and related propulsion units will be pursued in their conceptual design enabling antipodal range, which includes both the acceleration and cruise part of the trajectory.

This will be unique within Europe and should be considered as a first step towards long-term studies classically performed in the USA, Russia or Japan. The experiments conducted in the frame of this project will complement the database from the preceding project. This project also plays an important role in combining the supersonic/hypersonic research community in Europe. At the end of the project, a detailed technological development roadmap necessary for successive exploration towards vehicle construction and deployment will be available.

LAPCAT A2: Mach 5 Vehicle at Take-Off
LAPCAT A2: Mach 5 Vehicle at Take-Off
LAPCAT-MR1: Mach 8 Vehicle
LAPCAT-MR1: Mach 8 Vehicle