SAAB Present New Wing Design

Three years after start of the Smart Fixed Wing Aircraft (SFWA) project, a new unique wing demonstrator is presented for the first time. The new wing panel is one of several new features that will contribute substantially to reduce fuel consumption and emissions for aircraft in the future.

Saab plays an essential part in the European Clean Sky project lead by Airbus. Saab has developed the new Smart Fixed Wing Aircraft (SFWA) wing panel demonstrator, which is one step closer to achieve Clean Sky’s vision; to radically minimize adverse environmental impact from aviation by 2020.

“Because of the SFWA design, maintenance of laminar air flow is possible, which decrease the aircrafts total drag by at least 5 %”, says Henrik Åslund, aerodynamicist.

Saab’s contribution to the Clean Sky project is highly advanced technological knowledge. The major challenge is to preserve laminar air flow and avoid turbulent flow. Air flow is extremely sensitive to small steps, gaps and waviness which disturbs the laminar flow and makes it turbulent, thus increasing the friction imposed on the wing. Saab, being an experienced composite design and manufacturer, has new unique techniques which make the wing surfaces smooth enough to maintain laminar flow.

“This new design which also includes an integrated Leading Edge will impact the ways of building the future aircraft wing, reducing the time for assembly and enhance the surface quality allowing the laminar flow to be stable”, says Thomas Hellström, Project Manager Clean Sky.

As a result of this, SFWA helps reduce drag. This, in turn, reduces CO2 and NOx emissions as well as fuel consumption and noise caused by aircraft.

« This is the most complex and highly advanced composite article built by Saab. The panel has shown very good laminate and surface quality , which verifies that the design and tooling concept has proven to work”, according to Jonas Bohlin, Sub-project manager, Clean Sky SFWA, Saab.

A complete wing panel with a length of almost 10 meters will be built by Saab in Linköping 2013, and flight tested by Airbus on an A340 aircraft in France during 2014. The SFWA panel demonstrator was shown for the first time during Clean Sky’s annual meeting on March 17th in Linköping, Sweden.

Short facts about the Clean Sky project:
Clean Sky is the largest environmental project in the history of the European Union, involving 86 organizations, authorities and industries from 32 nations. Together they are working to achieve a common goal, reducing the adverse environmental impact caused by Europe’s aviation industries.

By 2020, Clean Sky aims to reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption by 25-30 %. The noise caused by aviation will also be decreased by at least 10 db. The NOx emissions will be reduced by 20 %. In addition to participating in SFWA, Saabs contribution to Clean Sky is ‘Systems for Green Operations’.

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