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NRC “Zhukovsky Institute” Takes Part in RAS’s Mechanical Engineering Research Council Meeting

30 May 2022

The NRC “Zhukovsky Institute” continues its research into developing an integrated system of controlling R&T aircraft building development, forecasting technology development trends and designing concepts of next-generation advanced aircraft.

Developed by the NRC, the integrated system for R&T development control uses mathematical and computer modeling of all processes of forming and making decisions. Unlike human expert opinions, it provides objectivity and reduces the risks of unreasonable decisions. The system uses over 30 specifically created models of advanced aircraft technology applied in aviation transport and other large-scale integrated systems.

According to the NRC’s aircraft technological development forecasts, modern technologies have approached their ‘saturation point’. Modern civil aircraft flight safety has been as high as to provide a decrease even in the absolute number of airplane crash injuries in the recent decades—despite the increased number of freights. Meanwhile, increasing safety margins by enhancing aircraft reliability has nearly been exhausted. The next step is to minimize human factors by using smart control technologies, said the NRC’s General Director Andrey Dutov at the RAS’s Mechanical Engineering Research Council Meeting titled ‘Research and Technology Challenges of Modern Aircraft Engine Building’.

‘The current level of technologies can no longer provide any significant decrease in the specific fuel rate. This rate affects both freight costs and pollutant emissions. The ambitious goal of reducing carbon footprint is achievable only by switching into new propulsions, such as electric or hybrid, and by using renewable fuels. These new propulsions also allow for a breakthrough in community noise reduction, where traditional technologies have also reached their saturation,’ said Andrey Dutov.

The NRC’s research outlined breakthrough technological areas that will allow for a significant increase in advanced civil aircraft performance. Yet the R&D discrepancy, even in the urgent areas, does not provide the technological advance that the industry can implement effectively and with acceptable risks. The NRC has so far developed a method of system technology integration under integrated R&T projects, enabling timely maturation of necessary technologies up to TRL 6, and their binding within comprehensive advanced concepts.

Andrey Dutov emphasized that the NRC had developed three such strategic projects, including those of supersonic transport, short-haul and long-haul hybrid propulsion and hydrogen aircraft, as well as high-speed new-configuration rotorcraft. The projects also imply such subprojects as electric and hybrid propulsions, or smart aviation systems.

‘Under the activities aimed to create a low-footprint supersonic transport, Strizh (an integrated technology flight demonstrator of supersonic transport) and Civil (an integrated technology demonstrator of supersonic transport engine) projects are being developed. As for the integral cargo aircraft, the Magistral Integral (a high-capacity aircraft flight demonstrator) and Region Integral (a multi-purpose distributed propulsion aircraft flight demonstrator) projects are being developed. Under the program of hybrid electric VTOL aircraft, the High-Speed Rotorcraft (a full-scale stoppable-rotor helicopter demonstrator) and Aerogorod (a UAV demonstrator for metropolitan areas) are being created,’ the NRC’s General Director said.

TsAGI’s Director General Kirill Sypalo reported on more specific aspects of developing future civil aircraft, focusing on the scientific problems of airframe/propulsion integration.

‘Today, the airframe/propulsion integration is considered as an extremely important task enabling extra margin for low footprint and fuel efficiency. According to the ICAO regulations, we are obliged to significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions by 2050, up to 50 percent, and to reduce propulsion noise by 30 decibels. This is necessary for expanding potential flight zones, including cities, as there are noise restrictions as well. This is achievable only by implementing revolutionary technologies—even the engines using other physical principles or fuels; by changing radically the air transport management system, and by integrating and optimizing aircraft concept with a multidisciplinary approach,’ said Kirill Sypalo. ‘TsAGI is elaborating different designs of propulsions located above or inside the wing, open-rotor aircraft, boundary layer selection systems, active STOL system, distributed propulsions, and various integral concept designs enabling better fuel efficiency and ecological safety, as compared to traditional layout solutions.’

According to the NRC’s Director General Andrey Dutov, the post-2030 prospects should also be considered, apart from the current traditional aircraft technologies and the innovations described in the mentioned projects. Consequently, research and development are necessary to implement these prospects. The NRC and the RAS Institutions are currently shaping the joint research program for aircraft industry.

The meeting was also attended by representatives from the Ufa Engine Building Production Association, the Aviadvigatel JSC, the RAS, and aviation scientists.

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