The general structure of the Cluster is aligned with the research objectives. This leads us to structure the Cluster organisation in three Integrated Cluster Areas(ICAs) that reflect the mission-critical research demands and follow a coherent and coordinated roadmap. The three ICAs have a coordinated research focus with an intense exchange and integration of approaches and methods. They are clearly identified in terms of 1.) system assessment, 2.) critical technologies for enhancing vehicle performance, and 3.) aircraft energy storage and conversion. In addition, there may be a need to consider ideas outside the structure over the lifetime of the Cluster. Therefore, the governance process provides flexibility not only for defining new research teams, but also for establishing an additional ICA if justified by an increase in knowledge or new research ideas. The three ICAs resulting from our assessment of critical research demands are:
- ICA A –“Assessment of the Air Transport System” focuses on system analysis and evaluation of the air transportation system in different future scenarios. These scenarios consider environmental, economic and social criteria simultaneously. Technology assessment includes noise exposure and life-cycle analysis.
- ICA B –“Flight Physics and Vehicle Systems” conducts fundamental research on enabling technologies for sustainable transport aircraft with zero-fossile energy supply. These enablers are expected to be active means of load control, drastic reductions of aircraft drag, and knowledge on integrating new functions into load-bearing structures, on new materials, and on design rules for composite structures.
- ICA C –“Energy Storage and Conversion” deals with the fundamentals of providing the amount of energy and energy density required for flight. There are long-term technological prospects for full electrification of regional and short-range aircraft, while long-range aircraft will continue to rely on liquid fuels characterised by high energy density. Between these distinct energy storage alternatives, there are hybrid concepts that open a new design space for adapting the aircraft to specific requirements of its mission profile and for improving overall efficiency.