Airbus has revealed its latest aircraft design which is purpose built to cut carbon emissions.
Code-named the Maveric (Model Aircraft for Validation and Experimentation of Robust Innovative Controls), the demonstrator has a blended-wing design that allows the jet to reduce its fuel consumption.
The model was revealed at the Singapore Airshow this week.
If commercialised, the jet would offer a more environmentally-focused mode of flying and could change the shape of aircraft as we know them today.
Its design replaces the conventional tube-and-wing configuration with a manta-shaped jet, a shielded engine and a wide-bodied cabin.
Secret test flights
At just two metres long and 3.2 metres wide, the aircraft has been secretly flying at an Airbus location in France since last year.
It has also undergone wind tunnel testing at Airbus’s Filton site in the UK.
The aerodynamic shape of the Maveric allows the aircraft to reduce its fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent when compared to a conventional single-aisle aircraft. The design also reduces aircraft noise as the engine is mounted above the central body.
A Maveric-inspired passenger aircraft would give travellers added comfort thanks to its spacious cabin layout. This could make way for additional legroom and larger aisles.
Old design, reinvented
The radical looking aircraft makes use of a blended wing body, but the design is nothing new - similar designs date back to the 1940's.
The United States Air Force already use a Sealth Bomber with a blended wing body and in 2007, Boeing partnered with NASA to create a remotely-piloted blended wing aircraft dubbed the X-48.
As the airline industry looks to become more environmentally-focused, plane makers are returning to such designs which can offer greater aerodynamics.
"We understand society expects more from us in terms of improving the environmental performance of our aircraft. MAVERIC’s blended wing body configuration is a potential game-changer in this respect, and we’re keen to push the technology to the limit," said Airbus' Adrien Bérard.
The Maveric will continue to undergo test flights to allow Airbus to analyse handling quality and flight control.