Sky Frontier – Sky Frontier Program
Due to its high speed and mobility, air transportation has become an essential means of long-range transport and an indispensable asset in search and rescue. In future, society expects air transportation to become not only more environmentally friendly but also faster and more convenient, usable from any place at any time.
To satisfy these diverse expectations and demands, JAXA's Sky Frontier program is challenging the frontiers of air transportation with researches with a long-term outlook. By striving for higher speeds (through supersonic and hypersonic aircraft), greater use of airspace (through short and vertical takeoff and landing capabilities) and the use of new energy resources (electric propulsion and a shift away from fossil fuels), JAXA is creating innovative aircraft concepts and key enabling technologies to bring about air transport system innovations.
We will achieve technological targets that play key roles in the realization of supersonic passenger aircraft of 70 ton class takeoff weight, with maximum capacity of 50 passengers, and flying at Mach 1.6 and present airframe concepts that have these technologies applied. In particular, for technologies to reduce sonic booms, which is the most daunting challenge for the realization of supersonic passenger aircraft, we will demonstrate the concept under various flight environments.
We are promoting research and development of a hypersonic turbojet engine that can be applied to Mach 5 class hypersonic transport aircraft. The aircraft can cross the Pacific Ocean in two hours. We are also conducting a conceptual study on hypersonic technology experimental aircraft equipped with the engine
We will aim at the development and flight demonstration of electric aircraft as one candidate innovative technology that can provide significant reduction in fuel consumption and maintenance costs. We are promoting a conceptual examination of propulsion systems including hybrid propulsion systems with high efficiency electric fans combined with a fuel cell/gas turbine as the power source.
We are pursuing research on V/STOL aircraft technology, which is anticipated for wider use in future aircraft and which is said to be useful for additional reduction of the time necessary for air transportation and for improving space utilization. V/STOL aircraft can take off and land vertically, similarly to a helicopter, but can also fly through the air at high speed as a fixed-wing aircraft does.
We are studying a new type of compound helicopter technology aimed at drastically improved maximum flying speed (about 1.8 times) while maintaining the excellent hovering performance of a conventional helicopter.