Saab has designed an entirely new type of aircraft wing that in the long run can save considerable amounts of aviation fuel. The secret is in reducing air resistance to a minimum at the same time that the wing is built lighter.
New technology – new opportunities
The new wing is made of carbon-fibre, reinforced composite. By using entirely new tools, we have developed wing panels without a trace of surface irregularities – no waves in the material, no joints, no rivets. Everything is cast and hardened in a single piece with a completely smooth and glossy surface that improves the air's flow over the wing (the natural laminar flow). This means reduced turbulence and consequently lower air resistance and fuel consumption.
In 2014, the outer part of the wing on an Airbus A340 will be replaced with an entirely new, nine-metre-long wing construction with the new turbulence-free composite shell. Besides the actual wing, Saab is developing a system for energy-efficient control of wing flaps.
Saab is contributing to Europe's largest aviation-related environmental project
The project is being conducted in collaboration with the aircraft manufacturer Airbus in a project called Smart Fixed Wing Aircraft and is a part of the larger EU project Clean Sky.
Clean Sky encompasses six larger sub-projects with the goal of developing technology that reduces European air traffic's emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and noise with up to 40 percent by 2020.
Besides Smart Fixed Wing Aircraft, Saab is also participating in the development of energy efficient electrical systems for de-icing. This work is being carried out in the sub-project Systems for Green Operations. Saab is also a member of SESAR, a project related to Clean Sky with the goal of developing new technology for the future's air traffic control system in Europe.Together with its partners, Saab is developing new methods for climate-smart planning of flight routes, all for the purpose of reducing fuel consumption and noise from aircraft and airports.