The “Clean Sky” initiative – not only in the air

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is participating in the  ”Clean Sky” Joint Technology Initiative (JTI).

This JTI is one of the EU’s major research projects and the largest in the aviation industry field. It is a direct outcome of the very ambitious goals set by the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE) as a part of Vision 2020, providing the framework for the research, development and maturation of new technologies and concepts to be implemented in the current and future aircraft fleet. The goals target a reduction of 50% in carbon emissions and noise and a reduction of 80% of nitrogen oxides. They also aim for greener manufacturing and increases in performance and efficiency while maintining competitiveness.

Within the framework of Clean Sky, the Eco-Design Airframe (EDA) is focused mainly on the last ACARE goal: “To make substantial progress in reducing the environmental impact of the manufacture, maintenance and disposal of aircraft and related products.” This concentrates on the design, production and end-of-life aircraft life phases. The EDA platform involves the participation of 14 major partners and is co-led by Dassault Aviation and Fraunhofer Gesellschaft.

Gad Cohen, executive VP and the general manager of IAI’s engineering & development group, says that the company is one of the associate partners in the EDA platform, and an important contributor to research and development in several areas, such as “new materials and technologies, metals and composites and greening of the surface treatments common in aircraft coatings – thereby eliminating and reducing hazardous chromates”. Cohen adds that this represents only some of the focused efforts IAI is involved in.

Cohen explains that in order to increase airframe efficiency, environmental performance and improve manufacturability, significant metallic and composite materials and technologies for fuselage and wing applications are being developed.

“The novel materials, technologies and coatings were clustered in representative demonstrators. Three demonstrators were proposed and led by IAI and will be manufactured in 2014-2015 according to the EDA project schedule,” he says.

IAI is working within the “Clean Sky” initiative in co-operation with Dassault,  which includes IAI’s preliminary design of a future business jet. “Even in this early phase we know that this business jet must be green, and all our research efforts are aimed at achieving this goal,” Cohen says.

IAI is currently manufacturing some types of business jet marketed by Gulfstream. The company has been evaluating new types of civil aircraft to add to its line and it is obvious they will have to be greener.

The work that is being done now within the framework of the JTI is replacing well-established manufacturing processes with novel ones, to supply new ways of solving production problems that elevate the environment to the same level of importance as efficiency.

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