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ASTRAL: Design and Manufacture of an Advanced Wing Structure for Rotorcraft Additional Lift

Racer, Airbus' high-speed rotorcraft demonstrator, features a novel aerodynamic configuration to achieve a cruise speed of over 400 km/h, reduced fuel burn and a lower acoustic footprint. The inclusion of wings and lateral rotors, along with the need for reduced structural weight, presents unique design and manufacturing challenges. ​ 


ASTRAL (Design and Manufacture of an Advanced Wing Structure for Rotorcraft Additional Lift), a partnership between the University of Nottingham and Hamble Aerostructures, designed, manufactured and delivered the novel wing structures for RACER. The consortium brought together expertise from fixed wing design and advanced aerostructure manufacturing to deliver the innovative structures and support integration with the rotorcraft.​ 




Clean Sky 2

Project Ref: H2020-CS2-CPW01-2014-01-671436 



  • Wing design optimised for weight, aerodynamic drag, stiffness, stability, robustness and manufacturability.

  • Manufacturing strategy to achieve functional requirements, while minimising recurring and non-recurring costs.

  • Design and manufacture of all tooling required to produce the wing structures.

  • Manufacture of wing components, utilising high-performance sustainable materials and processes.

  • Assembly and test of the flying demonstrator wings.


  • Analytical tool for conceptual design, sizing and weight estimation to support optimum design solution selection.

  • Process-based cost estimation model for evaluation and selection of manufacturing strategy.

  • Methodology for complex 3D tolerance analyses to drive the design of assembly tooling.

  • Model-based definition-driven tool for automated generation of manufacturing work instructions.

  • Innovative single-piece cast titanium structural wing joint for reduced weight.

  • Automation of sealant and liquid shim deposition, installation of nut plates and inspection of key characteristics.

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