Airbus Reveals The Shape-Shifting Xtra-Performance Wing

Airbus has today revealed a creative new wing demonstrator. The Xtra-Performance Wing can increase its wingspan and has gust sensors to change its shape during flight.

Airbus seeks to reduce carbon emissions by boosting aerodynamic performance – the demonstrator will fly innovative wing technologies on a Cessna Citation VII business jet. Photo: Airbus

The natural evolution

Airlines across the globe are determined to optimize efficiency. By doing so, they can cut both costs and emissions, two prime goals of the market.

Wing advances have long contributed to efficiency increases over the years. For instance, winglets save the industry billions of dollars every year by reducing induced drag. So, it’s not a surprise that Airbus is keen to keep innovating the wing.

Sabine Klauke, Chief Technical Officer at Airbus proudly shared details about what had been going under the moniker of X-wing. At the Airbus Summit in Toulouse today, she explained that the demonstrator is another instance of her company’s technology-oriented solutions to decarbonize aviation activity. With it, the firm is making great progress in active control technology via research and applied testing of numerous technologies based on nature.

“It brings us to the subject where you could think about flying birds and how they adapt in the different flight missions or the different parts of the flight in terms of span, in terms of shape, and in terms of aerodynamics.” – Sabine Klauke, at the Airbus Summit.

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The technology is expected to be able to adapt across Airbus’ arsenal. Photo: Airbus

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A dedicated force

The demonstrator is being conducted under Airbus’ subsidiary, UpNext. This branch concentrates on future technologies and accelerating their research and development. In doing so, it is actively shaping the aerospace industry. It utilizes demonstrators to emulate, mature, and verify new projects.

Airbus is significantly focused on its wing ambitions. Its ‘Wing of Tomorrow’ research and technology program is making major breakthroughs amid the assembly of its first full-size wing prototype. This initiative looks to test the latest composites and new aerodynamic tech. Airbus also hopes to evaluate how wing manufacturing can transition to the new climate.

With the program, three full-size prototype wings will be produced. One will help to understand systems integration, while another will be compared with computer modeling. The third unit will help ramp up industrial production.

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The initial full-size Airbus Wing of Tomorrow has stated assembly in Broughton, United Kingdom. Photo: Airbus

The Xtra-Performing Wing is expected to fly by the middle middle of the decade. Notably, those in attendance at the Airbus Summit hint that it will be Airbus’ grandest wing revolution since the Sharklet, which was launched in 2009.

The bigger picture

Airbus is fixed on helping the aviation industry reach sustainability goals over the next few decades. Within the market, airlines and airports have net-zero targets for 2050. So, creative touches such as this wing demonstrator will undoubtedly help with these ambitious motives.

What are your thoughts about the Xtra-Performance Wing and Airbus’ wider wing projects? How do you feel about the company’s work in this field? Let us know what you think of the firm and its operations in the comment section.