Brussels is offering one European airframer €4 million ($6 million) to design and manufacture a revolutionary active wing under the seven-year €1.6 billion Clean Sky initiative.

The €393 million Smart Fixed Wing Aircraft integrated technology demonstrator (ITD) which is led by Airbus and Saab aims to develop an active wing together with innovative airframe concepts that control loads and air flow to reduce drag and structural mass.

Whereas a classical wing is passive with an optimised shape and high-lift devices, an active wing senses the surrounding airflow, analyses and modifies it in an effort to seek optimum efficiency reducing fuel burn and emissions, noise and systems complexity while increasing ride comfort.

The selected airframer, whose full-scale wing will be tested in a real operational environment on an as yet undecided transport aircraft flying demonstrator, will become a Clean Sky associate member and will be expected to use advanced materials, design tools and manufacturing methods.

"A successful combination of all these technology elements will be an essential key to gain the envisaged benefit from the new wing design, with respect to overall performance, weight and cost," says the European Commission.

The total budget allocated for the work package is €8 million, with 50% to be funded by the airframer selected.

It will also be asked to provide structural solutions to the flight test bed demonstrator to achieve the requirements specific to a laminar flow wing develop structural concepts that best meets laminar flow surface requirements into a full wing box develop this structural concept in composite materials and with manufacturing processes using proven technologies and apply mature solutions for surface technologies (anti-contamination, anti-ice).