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Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

ECAT - Environment-Conscious Aircraft Technology Program

Air transportation currently carries 2.6 billion passengers a year, supporting 56.6 million jobs worldwide and economic activity equivalent to 3.5% of the global GDP*1, and the volume of air traffic is expected to grow 2.6-fold in the next 20 years*2. On the other hand, there are growing concerns about the increasing environmental impacts of aviation, such CO2 emissions and noise to communities around airports, making the social need for more environmentally friendly aircraft greater than ever. Moreover, in civil aviation, environmental performance is becoming an increasingly important factor in market competitiveness.
JAXA’s ECAT program, in collaboration with industry and other stakeholders, builds on the results of our previous research to pursue 1) high-efficiency technologies such as advanced ultra-high bypass ratio engines and aircraft weight and drag reduction, 2) noise reduction of airframe components (landing gear and high-lift devices) and engines (fan and jet exhaust), and 3) reducing emissions such as nitrogen oxides (NOx). The ECAT program will contribute to creating an environmentally sustainable and prosperous society and will support the growth of the Japanese aviation industry while enhancing its competitiveness.

*1: ATAG “Aviation: benefits beyond borders (2012)”, estimation based on 2010.
*2: JADC “Worldwide Market Forecast For Commercial Air Transport 2012–2031” (2012)

aFJR (Advanced Fan Jet Research) project

We are planning to undertake joint efforts with the Japanese aviation industry in developing next-generation jet engines with technologies that can increase the environmental compatibility of “fan” and “low-pressure turbine” components, which is a field of expertise of Japanese jet engine manufacturers, helping them to secure firm and expanding roles in design and manufacturing responsibilities associated with international collaborative projects

FQUROH (Flight Demonstration of Quiet Technology to Reduce Noise from High-lift Configurations) project

The purpose of the FQUROH mission is to reduce airframe noise, a large fraction of which comes from high-lift devices (flap and slat) and landing gears, and to verify the feasibility of practical application of airframe noise reduction technologies through flight demonstration.

Eco-wing technology

With emphasis on increasing the environmental performance of airframes, we are developing “Drag reduction technology” and “composite structure design technology”, as well as “System evaluation technology” that can evaluate the performance of an airframe with these technologies.

Green engine technology

To further improve environmental performance of jet engine, we develop and demonstrate technologies that are necessary for core engine and engine noise reduction.