By Aimee Turner in London

A €1.6 billion ($2 billion) European initiative to speed up the entry into service of greener aircraft will focus on achievable technology rather than attempting to create costly aircraft prototypes. The Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative (JTI), created by the European Commission within its 7th Framework Programme (FP7) research effort, aims to persuade private enterprise to match public funding over the next seven years in a bid to reduce drastically aviation’s environmental impact.

“The Clean Sky JTI on aeronautics and air transport will assess, design, build and test many technology validation vehicles that will give industry the confidence to launch greener, more innovative products much sooner,” says Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) secretary general Francois Gayet.

Speaking at a recent workshop to showcase opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, whose participation is expected to reach 15% of the programme, he said the European integrators are committed to providing “all the necessary resources” for the technology demonstrators, including a flight-test A320 or A340 loaned by Airbus.

“It must be emphasised that these vehicles are not product prototypes; they are an essential component to convince industry shareholders to commit to more radical, greener products in the near future,” Gayet said. “Clean Sky is necessary to overcome this market failure.”

The JTI objective is to demonstrate and validate technologies necessary to meet the environment goals set by the joint government/industry Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE), which include reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 50% and halving aircraft noise.

“ACARE has clearly shown that such ‘greener products’ must contain substantial innovation and breakthrough technologies to achieve these goals,” says ASD, whose members include the JTI’s nine industrial primes: AgustaWestland, Airbus, Alenia Aeronautica, Dassault Aviation, Eurocopter, Liebherr Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, Safran and Thales.

Gayet said efforts will be co-ordinated to meet specific programme milestones and divided into six platforms, each led by an integrator that will ensure delivery of the integrated test vehicles. A technology evaluator platform will also be launched, he said, to ensure efforts are efficiently focused towards the high level objectives.

Source: Flight International