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Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Sky Frontier – Sky Frontier Program

Faster, greener, and more accessible and usable from anywhere and at any time. Air transportation systems with speed and mobility are indispensable in our socioeconomic activities, whether for search and rescue or for long distance travel, and need to meet the evolving demands of users in a changing society.

To satisfy these diverse demands, JAXA's Sky Frontier program is exploring the frontiers of air transportation and working to open new doors for aviation through research with a long-term outlook. By striving for high speed (supersonic aircraft), applying alternative energy (electric and hybrid propulsion systems), and pursuing mobility (high-speed compound helicopters), JAXA is creating innovative aircraft concepts and key enabling technologies to bring about innovations in air transportation systems.

D-SEND project / Silent supersonic transport technology

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.

Hypersonic passenger aircraft technology

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

Electric and hybrid propulsion system for aircraft

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.

Technology of VTOL/STOL

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.

Future rotary-wing airplane technology

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.