Leonardo C-27J Spartan Demonstrates Fuel-Reducing Tech

The military transport aircraft was used as a flying test bed to showcase innovative wing configurations and technology.

A C-27J in Clean Sky 2 configuration. [Courtesy: Leonardo]

A Leonardo C-27J  Spartan military transport has been used to demonstrate technology aimed at slashing fuel consumption of regional aircraft, the Italian manufacturer said Monday.

During a debut flight at Turin-Caselle Airport (LIMF), the C-27J flying test bed was used to showcase innovative wingtips and morphing winglets capable of changing shape during flight, Leonardo said Monday. 

"These unusual surfaces are maneuvered by advanced electromechanical actuators with digital local control units and a central flight control computer on board the aircraft, which acts as a supervisor, checking and regulating the performance of the active load control and alleviation system in real time to optimize the aircraft asset, performance, and fuel consumption during the flight," Leonardo said in a statement.

Innovative wing tip. [Courtesy: Leonardo]

The technology was developed as part of the European Clean Sky 2 program—an initiative funded in part by the European Union that seeks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 30 percent.

"The in-flight demonstration concluded a technological development cycle that began 10 years ago in Europe under Leonardo’s coordination, with the involvement of national aeronautical excellences integrated with a highly qualified European ecosystem of over 100 partners, inclusive of SMEs [subject matter experts], research centers, universities, and industries," Leonardo said.

Demonstrating the wing innovation is expected to validate the technology and make a significant contribution to reducing fuel consumption of future aircraft, the company said.

“We are registering extraordinary technological results, made possible by an excellent European aeronautical ecosystem in which Leonardo is at the helm, brilliantly playing the part of innovation and sustainability coordinator,” Aurelio Calcedonio Boscarino, head of strategy and innovation in Leonardo’s aircraft division, said in a statement.

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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