In the age of ecological transition, no sector of activity is spared by changes. This means reinventing its know-how. The aeronautical sector is no exception to the trend and must carry out its revolution using disruptive technologies.
need for fast and the drive to go green. In recent years, aerospace innovators have given us hopes of supersonic speed business jets and battery-powered aircraft that do not rely on fossil fuels. What might have been considered the dream of idealists just over a decade ago is closer than ever to being realized. But what is the status of disruptive projects and innovations in the aeronautical sector?
What are the prospects for “VTOLs” in the years to come?
VTOL (Vertical Take-off and Landing aircraft) is a project of flying cabs in progress which could decongest the roads, the scourge of urban areas.
Today, there are dozens of VTOL projects intended for specific uses or to become flying cabs. For example, Larry Page (co-founder of Google) is financing two start-ups on this matter (Opener and Kitty Hawk). Uber is working on its own electric and autonomous flying cab, in partnership with the Californian start-up Joby Aviation. Uber’s eVTOLs are scheduled to go into service in 2023. Other manufacturers such as Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Volocopter are also in the running.
Autonomous fighter aircraft:
Recently, aircraft manufacturers have begun to increasingly mount their vision of the fighter of the future:
Which is autonomous, without human intervention, thanks to several technologies including artificial intelligence. This can reduce human casualties on the battlefield.
This is the case with the New Generation Fighter (NGF): the successor to the Rafale. The sixth-generation fighter, currently under development by Dassault Aviation and Airbus Defence and Space, is set to replace Dassault’s current generation of Rafales, Germany’s Eurofighter Typhoon and Spain’s F-18 Hornet around 2035-2040. The next-generation fighter will fly surrounded by drones and smart missiles as part of the air combat program called SCAF (Future Air Combat System).
This system will allow the fighter to operate in formation with drones, radar aircraft, tankers, electronic warfare aircraft and cruise missiles. An operation made possible thanks to a network connection, like a cloud system, which allows each one to carry out its mission, ranging from jamming, data transmission to enemy detection. The goal is to process as much information as possible thanks to artificial intelligence. The NGF can be optionally piloted. This reveals the autonomy of the SCAF system.
The Boeing Group in partnership with the Australian Air Force has decided to develop an autonomous drone that has approximately the same characteristics as war aircraft. It will carry out its missions independently. During a mission, the squadron commander will be able to directly give orders to the autonomous drone. Thanks to its artificial intelligence, the Loyal Wingman will accomplish its objectives alone without the need for external assistance or additional commands from a human.
After the recent delivery of its Sukhoi Su-57 to the army, Russia has just presented a new almost autonomous version of its futuristic fighter plane. This means that the pilot only participates in take-off and landing. During the flight, he becomes the co-pilot of a connected digital piloting system.
Disruptive aircraft propulsion :
According to the Institute of Aerospace Technology the propulsion technologies of the future are characterized by the realization of large ultra-high bypass ratio (UHBR) turbofan engines and improved integration of advanced propulsion systems on aircraft.
Several emerging technologies have benefited and will continue to benefit the propulsion of the future: active noise control; combustion systems for low particle production; pressure gain combustion for gas turbines; and photonic detection for harsh environments.
Surfeo is participating in the EACP Virtual B2B Aerospace Applications & Technologies show, which takes place from June 8 to 10. Join us to discuss and deepen the subject together!
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