In part two of a two-part series, RichardGardner discusses various aerospace propulsion innovations and continued work by aerospace engineers and scientists to advance aircraft engine technologies to increase efficiency and lower emissions.
Turbine blades in TiAl are about half the weight of comparable nickel-alloy components but boast the same reliability and durability. The high aluminum content also makes the material resistant to oxidation and corrosion.
Boeing won the long-running battle to provide a new jet trainer for the US Air Force T-X program. The search for a replacement for the 1960s era Northrop T-38 Talon, which was produced from 1961 in thousands as an advanced pilot trainer and developed alongside the very similar Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter, has been underway for around two decades.
Boeing won a $9.2 billion contract to deliver a new jet trainer for the US Air Force T-X program, replacing the 1960s era Northrop T-38 Talon. An initial $815 million contract covers the development and production of the first five jet trainer aircraft plus seven flight simulators, with delivery slated for 2023. It will be followed by two batches of aircraft in low-rate production and eight full-production aircraft with an initial operating capability (IOC) expected in 2024.
The company is well on its way increasing its market presence, with worldwide military products that include 1800 aircraft sold to 70 countries, with 145 operators and over 5 million flight hours accumulated.
Even at the early stages of this new era of urban air mobility, there is already a scramble amongst well-known aerospace giants, as well as start-ups, to develop and evaluate the civil VTOL market. And this all starts with air-taxi concepts.
The search for ever-lower emission technology for future generations of aircraft engines is actively progressing on both sides of the Atlantic. Tucked away on a modest-size stand at this year’s Farnborough International Airshow was a highly varied collection of unconventional engine technology displays – a clear indication of radical innovation already being investigated as a part of Ultimate, the European Horizon 2020 research and innovation project.
An important element in its recent world tour was the participation of the new HondaJet at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE), held at Geneva, which was its first European appearance.
The fusing of emerging technologies from the aerospace materials sector and biological sciences are now, for the first time, heading toward the prospect of growing parts, systems, and, ultimately, perhaps whole aircraft.
While unmanned systems are already transforming the way that modern warfighting is conducted, the commercial sector is still at the starting gate. That said, personal UAV ownership is expanding at an exponential rate, as small, stable, UAVs enter the market.
Snecma is preparing its supply chain and industrial capabilities for an unprecedented production ramp-up of its LEAP engine, already considered the best selling new engine ever a year before entry into service.
The debate continues as to where exactly the balance should be between systems that have a high degree of autonomous functionality and the need for pilots to retain a wider 3-D perspective, especially if the computer software is overwhelmed by conflicting data being input from damaged or non-functioning sensors.
Autonomous flying cars and air-taxis have been the subject of science fiction movies for decades, but Brazilian aerospace manufacturer Embraer has now announced plans to develop a practical – if futuristic – small commercial air vehicle.
Engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce is in many ways the leader in MRO support packages and was so even before the arrival of the digital revolution that allowed a transformation in support capability. This support extends into every aspect of operations, control, analysis of performance and through life maintenance and repair. Over the years, Rolls-Royce has consolidated its lead in comprehensive customer support activities alongside the continuous development of new advanced specification aerospace engines.
The E-Fan X demonstrator will look at and explore all the challenges of developing a high-power propulsion system, including thermal effects, electric thrust management, altitude and dynamic effects on electric systems, and other issues such as electromagnetic compatibility. The objective is to push forward and mature the technology, performance, safety, and reliability of hybrid-electric technology.