April 5, 2017

DLR expands cooperation with Japanese partners in aeronautics research

Electric aircraft and efficient air traffic management are current areas of global research into quiet and low-emission aviation. Moreover, the future may even see a renaissance of ultrasonic passenger aircraft, depending on to which extent sophisticated aircraft shaping can reduce the sonic boom without surrendering aerodynamic properties. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has now agreed on closer collaboration with Japanese partners in these areas. Two agreements will strengthen the cooperation between DLR and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA - GLOBAL). Moreover, this collaboration is enhanced by a new cooperation agreement that has now been signed with the Electronic Navigation Research Institute (ENRI) in Japan.

"Japan, and JAXA and ENRI in particular, are important strategic partners for DLR in terms of research on important future technologies," says Rolf Henke, DLR Executive Board Member responsible for Aeronautics Research. "We plan to pool our research activities and competencies to develop responses to urgent issues within air transport at an international level." Henke signed the agreements during a trip to Japan at the end of March. At present, DLR is conducting joint research with Japanese partners in more than 50 ongoing projects. Furthermore, a strategic partnership between DLR and JAXA has been in existence since 2016. The newly signed agreements involve:

Electric aircraft

In the long term, electric aircraft may allow for cleaner, quieter aviation and even small passenger jets. This area is increasingly becoming a growth market for the aviation industry. In this accord, DLR and JAXA have agreed to cooperate closely on small, electrically powered aircraft, particularly in terms of safety and certification for hydrogen-based fuel cell systems. They also intend to investigate hybrid concepts using several propulsion technologies.

Air traffic management

DLR has signed a cooperation agreement defining future collaboration in air traffic management research with the Japanese research institute ENRI. Joint activities in air traffic management on the ground and in the air, communication and navigation, as well as the influence of weather on air traffic, will be defined more closely in individual, project-based cooperation agreements.

Reducing the sonic boom

DLR, JAXA and ONERA, the French aeronautics, space and defence research lab, have entered into a trilateral agreement to research the sonic boom. A number of initiatives around the world are working on reviving ultrasonic passenger transport. Here, one of the greatest challenges is the noise impact on residential areas because of the sonic boom created when an ultrasonic aircraft passes over. The cooperation will now investigate how a sophisticated shaping of the aircraft could produce maximum reduction in sonic boom, and which operative applications would therefore be conceivable for civilian ultrasonic aircraft.


Andreas Schütz

Head of Corporate Communications, DLR Spokesperson
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Corporate Communications
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne
Tel: +49 2203 601-2474

Dr Thorsten Nix

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
International Relations
International Cooperation
Linder Höhe, 51147 Köln