BLADE makes significant progress towards Natural Laminar Flow wing technology


Playing a key role in a new approach towards the development and maturation of Natural Laminar Flow wing technology, BLADE made significant progress.

The BLADE (Breakthrough Laminar Aircraft Demonstrator in Europe) flight demonstrator has been designed for de-risking the NLF technology. In this objective, new NLF outer wings are being mounted onto an existing AIRBUS flight test aircraft (A340-300 MSN1).

The wing assembly is progressing at AERNNOVA in Berantevilla (Spain) with more than 83% achieved by end of June.

  • On the Left Hand NLF External BLADE Wing, the SAAB integral composite leading edge and upper cover enables the reduction of AERNNOVA assembly working hours with less fasteners connection and penetrations into the Laminar Upper Cover;
  • On the Right Hand NLF External BLADE Wing, the GKN separated composite leading edge and upper cover has been adjusted by AERNNOVA with best fit practices. 

The key metallic components are also under manufacturing by SFWA leaders and partners (Dassault, INCAS, Romaero and AEROMAC-Aernnova group); such as the Wing tip Pod (already delivered) or the aero fairing under finalisation.

In parallel, the Aircraft Working Party has started in April and a major step has been completed with the removal of the two wings, facilitated with the jig platforms, staging and operational tooling designed and manufactured by partners ARITEX & EURECAT.  

Interested by BLADE? More information in upcoming events:

  • Presentation of a movie highlighting the recent BLADE progress at Clean Sky stand in Farnborough International Airshow (11 – 15 July 2016)
  • Presentation of the industrial challenges of Natural Laminar Flow and the BLADE flight test demonstrator during the Greener Aviation conference in Brussels (11 – 13 October 2015)