Boeing and its industry team have been chosen by NASA to oversee the creation and testing of a full-scale Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (TTBW) demonstrator aircraft.
Future designs will be influenced by the technology shown off and put to the test as part of the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator (SFD) initiative, which may result in ground-breaking aerodynamic and fuel efficiency improvements.
Depending on the mission, a single-aisle airplane with a TTBW layout could, when coupled with anticipated improvements in propulsion systems, materials, and systems architecture, cut fuel consumption and emissions by up to 30%. The SFD program intends to promote both the objectives outlined in the White House’s U.S. Aviation Climate Action Plan and the civil aviation industry’s commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The SFD program has the potential to make a major contribution toward a sustainable future. It represents an opportunity to design, build and fly a full-scale experimental plane, while solving novel technical problems – said Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief engineer and executive vice president of Engineering, Test & Technology
Advanced propulsion systems, which are now constrained by a lack of underwing space in today’s low-wing airplane layouts, could potentially be accommodated by ultrathin wings braced by struts with bigger spans and higher aspect ratios. Boeing will combine brand-new components with existing car parts to create the prototype vehicle.
The SFD Space Act Agreement has allocated $425 million to NASA. To shape the demonstrator program and provide the necessary resources, the SFD program will also make use of up to $725 million in funding from Boeing and its industry partners. Separately, Boeing has spent a total of $110 million on internal investments in recent iterations of sustainable aviation research.
After more than ten years of research and development, NASA, Boeing, and industry funding have produced the TTBW airframe idea. Boeing advanced the design of the TTBW through intensive wind tunnel testing and computer modeling under earlier NASA programs, such as the agency’s Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research program. Under NASA’s Environmentally Responsible Aviation initiative, preliminary conceptual investigations have been conducted.