The Naples-based Italian Aerospace Research Centre (CIRA) is the leader of the Campania aerospace industries association, which promotes the high-tech products made by aerospace companies in the Campania region. 

“CIRA today presents a series of test facilities which puts the centre among the most advanced around the world”, says Massimo Cavaliere, CIRA general director. It opened its advanced research and testing facility in the late 1990s which includes some of Europe’s most high-tech testing equipment.


These include a plasma wind tunnel, which allows thermo-structural resistance testing on thermal protection structures of spacecraft designed to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere: “The edge this facility has over other worldwide facilities is the ability to test for the whole 30-minute duration of the re-entry phase with temperatures reaching 10,000°C and speeds of up to Mach 12.

“CIRA has developed a series of ground and flight test facilities which are used by aerospace customers around the world,” Cavaliere said. “Both Indian and Japanese Space Agencies carried out important activities here, before completing real flight testing in their countries.”

CIRA has developed the UAV and Unmanned Space Vehicle (USV) flying laboratory programmes. “The aims of these programmes are to develop air vehicle laboratories to test technologies, components and systems on two different platforms.
CIRA is expected to fly-test the first UAV in the summer 2009, which will be used to developed the high altitude long endurance (HALE) unmanned vehicle with endurance of several weeks, to be flown in 2012-13.

Source: Flight International