Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Key aerodynamic technologies for aircraft performance improvement

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Vehicle design and manufacturing (VDM)
Transport mode
Airborne icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

The goal is to provide a communication platform for all aircraft disciplines concerned directly or indirectly with aerodynamic performance improvement including design & system integration, structures, materials, manufacturing, operational & maintenance aspects. KATnet intends to bring together engineers, designer and scientists from all Concerned disciplines in order - to enhance the information/data exchange between industry and research community - to identify future RTD priorities meeting the long-term needs - to accelerate the interdisciplinary design process - to improve the flight performance of future transport aircraft.


The main objective of KATnet was to identify and assess those aerodynamic technologies that are needed to meet the Vision 2020 goals and to be the European focus for these technologies. This was reached by development of a common R&T strategy in the KATnet technology areas and by providing a communication platform via Internet, workshops and a conference on the subject.



KATnet is covering the relevant Technology Areas Low Speed Performance (TA1), High Speed Performance (TA2) and Flow Control Technologies (TA3) including the ten EU funded aeronautical projects/platforms EUROLIFT, HELIX, HiAer, EPISTLE, HiReTT, AEROSHAPE, M-DAW, ALTTA, AEROMEMS II and AWIATOR. Other relevant non-EU activities addressed by KATnet are AIRnet, GARTEUR, ERCOFTAC and corresponding national programmes.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission, Directorate-General for Research (DG Research)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


The final achievements of KATnet include:

  • Identification of promising technologies, quantification of their benefits and maturity, and development of roadmaps for their implementation into future aircraft
  • Dissemination of KATnet information via the KATnet homepage and newsletters
  • Providing of a communication platform by organising workshops on key technology areas and an international conference on the subject.
  • R&T Strategy Development & Exploitation

    A wide range of aerodynamic technologies have been examined and assessed for their potential to meet the Vision 2020 goals with the result that only those technologies as laminar flow technology, turbulent drag reduction technologies, < with combination in technologies>weight reductions and configuration change that are promising a step change rather than a small benefit will enable Europe’s aircraft industry to be competitive in the future.

  • The technologies that have to be applied and validated are high risk. Each technology has to prove its maturity for industrial application in an intensive flight test programme.
  • The implications of aircraft manufacturing time scales mean that technologies for 2020 need to mature at least 5 years ahead of that date.
  • It is therefore likely that any technology for a “2020 Compliant Aircraft” has to be mature for selection by 2014 leaving a few years only for technology development and validation.
  • Industry has to co-operate with the technology suppliers to ensure the timely maturation of promising technologies. A strong involvement of all parts of the research supply chain is essential.

    KATnet Website & Newsletters

    • The KATnet homepage and newsletters were important means for the dissemination of KATnet information.
    • A very professional website has been developed, but the site population was weaker than expected. The major struggle in this

      Technical Implications

      During the course of KATnet lessons have been learnt how to improve the networking activities of a potential successor:

      R&T Strategy Development & Exploitation

      The whole KATnet strategy development procedure should be refined and completed concerning multidisciplinary technology evaluation, implications of the “2020 Compliant Aircraft”, and the development of roadmaps for the technology implementation into future aircraft.

      The existing technology templates are a valuable database for more detailed strategy investigations.

    • For industry “confidence in a technology” seems to be a guide rather than the “degree of technology maturity”.

    • For a more reliable quantification of the potential benefits a multidisciplinary approach is needed.

    • As further items in the strategy development:
      aerodynamic noise,
      weight reductions,
      configuration changes,
      system integration, structural, material, manufacturing, operational & maintenance aspects have to be included.

    • The implications of the “2020 Compliant Aircraft” are dictating the timescales for the technology development & validation. The academic & research community has to be fully incorporated into the corresponding efforts.

    • The developmen

      Policy implications

      See key results

  • Partners

    Lead Organisation
    EU Contribution
    Partner Organisations
    EU Contribution


    Contribute! Submit your project

    Do you wish to submit a project or a programme? Head over to the Contribute page, login and follow the process!