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SONACA Contribution to an Electro-thermal Wing Ice Protection System

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Total project cost
€1 475 000
EU Contribution
€737 500
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Vehicle design and manufacturing (VDM)
Transport mode
Airborne icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues,
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Call for proposal
Link to CORDIS

The objective of this proposal was to support Liebherr Aerospace in building up an A320 slat equipped with an electro-thermal solution for wing ice protection system. First step will be to define the top level requirements to be mutually agreed with Liebherr and Airbus. This will be followed by a technological developments phase to evaluate solutions complying with Liebherr and Airbus’s criteria and integrating electrical components in a hybrid lay-up using advanced composite and metallic materials. A technological demonstrator will conclude this activity to freeze manufacturing process and tooling concept. Heating configuration and control strategy will then be defined in collaboration with Liebherr and assessed through an icing wind tunnel test campaign in order to confirm ice protection performances and system efficiency predicted by numerical simulations.

Finally, the system architecture will be optimized for 3 different functional modes (A/I only, combined A/I & D/I, and a mode based on power regulation only (External cooling rate survey)). The 3 optimized architecture concepts performances will then be validated through a full scale IWT campaign, for which 3 demonstrators will be designed, manufactured and tested. Final assessment will be done and, even if performance analysis and relevance of an electro-thermal ice protection system is the main purpose of SONACA’s proposal, structural requirements will be briefly considered in order to evaluate viability of considered solutions for potential further research and technological developments. SONACA will use its experience in aircraft system and structure developments to assess developed solutions according to both points of view.

The main objective is to imagine what could be the best compromise between system and structural functionalities that could not be reached without a strong integration of them. If conclusive, advice and recommendations will then be provided to give directions for next phases aiming to an increase of technical readiness level of the whole concept.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission
Type of funding
Public (EU)
Specific funding programme
JTI-CS - Joint Technology Initiatives - Clean Sky
Other Programme
JTI-CS-2009-1-SGO-02-004 Development and manufacturing of an Electro-thermal Ice Protection Assembly


Executive Summary:

The main goal of the SONEWIPS project was a significant contribution to Liebherr Aerospace in building up an A320 slat demonstrator equipped with an electro-thermal solution for wing ice protection system. The first part of the technical development was the definition of the eWIPS operational requirements, driven by Liebherr and Airbus system performance specifications. On the basis of those requirements, SONACA conducted technological developments to evaluate innovative solutions complying with the performance specifications, and integrating electrical components in an hybrid lay-up, using advanced composite and metallic materials. A first technological demonstrator representative of an A320 outboard slat provided with the eWIPS, was designed and manufactured, to support the validation of the ice protection performance by ‘full scale’ tests in the NASA IRT icing wind tunnel test (IWT), in collaboration with Liebherr and Airbus. The demonstrator manufacturing also supported the feasibility of the manufacturing process and the tooling concept.

The demonstration of the ice protection performance was fully successful, validating the heating configuration and the system control strategy, defined in collaboration with Liebherr and predicted by numerical simulations. Following the Icing Wind tunnel test demonstration, the technical maturity level 4 (TRL4) was approved by AIRBUS.

As the full scale eWIPS validation flight test campaign was disregarded by AIRBUS, the following development were devoted to the optimisation of the system configuration, mainly driven by the need for a significant simplification of the system architecture. The main goal of simplifying the system architecture is a large improvement of the system robustness and reliability, associated with a subsequent cost reduction. Following developments were therefore devoted to the design and the performance predictions of an optimized architecture provided with a significantly reduced number of system components. The investigations were carried out for 3 different functional modes: A/I only, combined A/I & D/I, and a mode based on power regulation only (External cooling rate survey). The 3 functional modes were then validated through a full scale IWT campaign, for which demonstrators were designed and manufactured. The IWT test demonstration was fully successful for the 3 functional modes, showing that the ice protection performance can be achieved with largely simplified system architecture.



Lead Organisation
Societe Nationale De Construction Aerospatiale Sonaca Sa
Route Nationale Cinq, 6041 Gosselies, Belgium
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€737 500
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


Technology Theme
Aircraft design and manufacturing
Electromagnetic induction based ice protection system
Development phase

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