AIR International – June 2018

(Jacob Rumans) #1 | 13


BLADE and Clean Sky
Airbus also showcased its BLADE
(Breakthrough Laminar Aircraft
Demonstrator in Europe) Flight
Lab for the fi rst time at a major air
show. The BLADE project is part of
the fi rst phase of Clean Sky, a €1.
billion European research initiative
that has been running since 2008.
The project is tasked with assessing
the feasibility of introducing
laminar-fl ow wing technology on
a large airliner, improving aviation’s
ecological footprint by reducing
aerodynamic drag by 10% and CO 2
emissions by 5%. The BLADE Airbus’
A340 laminar-fl ow Flight Lab test
demonstrator aircraft A340-
300 F-WWAI (msn 001), made
its successful maiden fl ight on
September 26, 2017 and since then
has been engaged in successful
testing to explore the wing’s
characteristics in fl ight. The test

aircraft is the fi rst in the world to
combine a transonic laminar wing
profi le with a true internal primary
structure. The aircraft is fi tted on
the outside with two representative
transonic laminar outer wings,
while inside the cabin there is a
highly complex specialist fl ight-test
instrumentation station.

Future Combat Air System
Airbus and Dassault Aviation
announced their cooperation on
the development and production of
Europe’s Future Combat Air System
(FCAS), intended to complement
and eventually replace their
own products, Eurofi ghter and
Rafale, between 2035 and 2040.
FCAS began because of bilateral
agreements made in November
2010 under the Lancaster House
Treaty between British Prime
Minister David Cameron and French

President Nicolas Sarkozy. Britain’s
decision to leave the EU may have
been a contributing factor to the
UK apparently now being excluded
from the programme. Speaking
at ILA, Dirk Hoke, head of Airbus’s
defence business, said hard choices
had to be made, “whether to
include or exclude the UK in certain
projects depending on how Brexit
will progress. If it’s a hard Brexit,
it will be a very di cult decision.”
The FCAS announcement made
at Berlin described the agreement
as “strengthening political and
military ties between Europe’s core
nations”. There was some hope for
BAE Systems, the world’s third-
largest defence conglomerate,
when Holke suggested there was
still room for the British company,
mentioning the “importance of
e cient industrial governance in
military programmes”, and adding:

“[This] includes the involvement
of other key European defence
industrial players and nations based
on government funding and on the
principle of best contribution.”

Eurofi ghter Typhoon
As mentioned, Germany is in
the market for a new fi ghter to
replace Tornado, 80 of which
are scheduled to remain in
service until 2035. According to
Luftwa e personnel who spoke
to AIR International at ILA with
a guarantee of anonymity, the
aspiration will be hard to achieve
when the source of spares from
Britain goes away when the UK
retires the type next year. On April
24 on the eve of the show, Airbus
and Eurofi ghter submitted six
binders of information proposing
Eurofi ghter to the German Ministry
of Defence as a cost-e ective

One of the Kawasaki P-1s provided cover from the rain in the static park. Two
deployed to ILA from Atsugi Naval Air Station near Tokyo. Jerry Gunner

Not every aircraft was spectacular. This Mikado micro UAV is an example of many
of the types used by the Bundeswehr. Jerry Gunner
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