Environmentally friendly aircraft stretches its wings with modeFRONTIER

In an ambitious collaborative venture, Leonardo is heading the Green Regional Aircraft (GRA) design team of the The Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative, committed to developing environmentally friendly aircraft. Domestic air travel of the future will meet demands for: weight reduction, aerodynamic efficiency, high level operative performance, compliance with emission standards, and respect of noise limits. 

Example of 3D RANS results [Courtesy of Leonardo]

Targeting multiple objectives such as lowering aircraft drag, wing weight, and environmental impact of lower speed conditions (i.e. take-off and landing), enhances the overall environmental performance measured by fuel consumption and noise generation. Seeking the most promising solution for this new generation aircraft, two wing shapes were studied using modeFRONTIER optimization. A “thin” configuration was selected to analyze aerodynamic performance, without any structural restrictions to airfoil thickness; another “thick” configuration was chosen to pursue weight reduction of the wing. 

modeFRONTIER has proved to help effectively the design team in identifying feasible solutions.Enrica Marentino, CFD Specialist at Leonardo

Parameters and objectives correlation [Courtesy of Leonardo]

“modeFRONTIER has proved to help effectively the design team in identifying feasible solutions and achieving a 2.5% enhancement of aerodynamic performance and a 4% wing weight reduction”, says Enrica Marentino, CFD Specialist at Leonardo. modeFRONTIER successfully streamlined the two-step optimization process for wing shape configuration and its multi-objective genetic algorithm (MOGA-II) has been profitably used to solve the optimization problem. Correlations among the aerodynamic parameters where explored thanks to modeFRONTIER statistical tools, providing deep insights which helped to effectively set up the optimization strategy. The Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) tool provided a useful framework in attaining a ranking for the Pareto front solutions, supporting the design team in determining  the best outcome. “The optimized configurations, while still matching TLAR requirements, determined substantial advantages comparing to the initial wing profiles”, says Enrica Marentino.


About Leonardo
Leonardo is a global high-tech company and one of the key players in Aerospace, Defence and Security. Leonardo designs and develops products, services and integrated solutions covering every possible field: air and land, naval and maritime, space and cyberspace. Leonardo’s structure is organised into seven Divisions. The Division involved in this activity is the Aircraft Division, which leads the Leonardo aeronautics business for both commercial and defense markets worldwide.