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Airbus reveals blended-wing aircraft demonstrator


MAVERIC, which first flew in June 2019, measures two metres long by 3.2 metres wide. (Photo: S. Ramadier, Airbus)

Airbus at the Singapore Airshow on February 11 revealed its blended-wing-body scale model technological demonstrator called MAVERIC, which stands for Model Aircraft for Validation and Experimentation of Robust Innovative Controls.

At two metres long and 3.2 metres wide, with a surface area of about 2.25 m2, Airbus states the disruptive aircraft design of MAVERIC has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent compared to current single-aisle aircraft.

The blended-wing-body configuration, according to Airbus, also opens up new possibilities for propulsion systems type and integration, as well as a versatile cabin for a totally new on-board passenger experience. The MAVERIC project was initially launched in 2017 and first took to the skies in June 2019. Airbus expects this flight-test campaign to continue until the end of the second quarter of 2020.

“By testing disruptive aircraft configurations, Airbus is able to evaluate their potential as viable future products,” said Jean-Brice Dumont, EVP, engineering, Airbus. “Although there is no specific time line for entry-into-service, this technological demonstrator could be instrumental in bringing about change in commercial aircraft architectures for an environmentally sustainable future for the aviation industry.”

Airbus is using its core strengths and capabilities of engineering and manufacturing, in close collaboration with an extended innovation ecosystem, to accelerate traditional research and development cycles. By doing this Airbus is able to achieve proof of concepts, at a convincing scale and speed, thereby driving forward maturity and increasing their value.

Airbus notes it is currently working on a number of demonstrator projects through its through its research program called AirbusUpNext, which also includes: E-FAN X (hybrid-electric propulsion), fello’fly (v-shaped formation flight), and ATTOL (Autonomous Taxi Take-Off & Landing).