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Specific research and technological development programme (EEC) in the field of industrial manufacturing technologies and advanced materials applications (BRITE/EURAM) - Specific activities relating to aeronautics -, 1989-1992

Part of the second Framework programme for research and technological development (1987-1991) under activity 3: "Modernization of industrial sectors", this first Community action in the aeronautics sector covered precompetitive research in technological areas of primary relevance to aeronautics which were not yet covered in other Community programmes. The research aimed in particular at developing Europe's aeronautical technology base, including aerodynamics, acoustics, airborne systems and equipment, and propulsion systems.

The initiative emerged following a thorough process of discussion and study involving the Commission and the aeronautics industry. A full scale study called EUROMART was conducted jointly in 1988 between the Commission and nine major aeronautics companies. Following a further period of consultation between Member States and other interested parties, a revised action, much smaller in scope than that suggested by EUROMART and first proposed by the Commission, was agreed upon. The Council, not wishing to be committed to a stand alone activity, opted for a two-year exploratory phase attached to the BRITE/EURAM programme (1989-1992) and aimed at proving the value of EC funded collaborative research in the sector.

The necessity of reducing the action budget from the original proposal of ECU 200/250 million to the final accepted figure of ECU 35 million led to the reduction or even removal of some areas of research. Thus CAD/CAM for aircraft was eliminated from the workprogramme, as was also aeronautic structure research, hypersonic research and most of the large computer code developments. In addition there was a severe reduction in the coverage of issues related to materials, noise reduction, and control.

In view of the importance of aeronautics to the economy and industries of the Community, the evaluation Panel, upon completion of the programme, recommended that the Community adopt a fully focused and integrated aeronautics research programme separate from BRITE/EURAM. However, the Council opted to implement the second phase of the programme as an area of BRITE/EURAM II.
To enhance the international competitiveness of the Community's aeronautical industries by providing them with the materials and manufacturing technology needed for innovative product and process development through transfrontier collaboration between companies and research organizations and through technology transfer between sectors, particularly those with a high predominance of SMEs.
Four areas:

- Aerodynamics:
. Analysis and optimization of configurations for supersonic aircraft, including an estimation of aerothermodynamic heat loads;
. Investigation of laminar flow technology;
. Development of numerical methods;
. Integration of computerized design technologies;

- Acoustics:
. Noise source identification, prediction and reduction;
. Basic investigation of acoustic fatigue and related damage tolerance on advanced composites;
. Investigation of different construction methods;
. Development and application of simulation models for response calculations under selected acoustic loads;

- Airborne systems and equipment:
. Integration and operation of modern systems and equipment and corresponding new architectures;
. Investigations concerning the use of onboard intelligent knowledge-based systems (IKBS);
. Investigations into the concept of the "All-Electric Aircraft";

- Propulsion systems:
. Integration of advanced propeller and propeller-rotor systems;
. Provision of mathematical models for different design evaluation;
. Specification and design of wind tunnel models;
. Specific aspects of air-breathing engine combustion.
The Commission, assisted by a Committee composed of the representatives of the Member States and chaired by the Commission representative, was responsible for implementing the programme.

Projects were required to involve at least two industrial enterprises from different Member States. Particular attention was paid to ensuring the complementarity of research in this area with activities carried out under the programmes of the Member States and those carried out in other fora of European transnational cooperation, including EUREKA. Where framework agreements for scientific and technical cooperation between non-Community European countries and the European Communities had been concluded, organizations and enterprises established in those countries were eligible, on the basis of mutual advantage, to become partners in a project undertaken within the programme. The Commission ensured appropriate cooperation with relevant COST activities.

The rules relating to the financing of industrial applied research and focused fundamental research in other sectors of the BRITE/EURAM programme applied, where appropriate, to the financing of the aeronautical research projects. The contracts concluded by the Commission governed the rights and obligations of each party, in particular arrangements for the dissemination, protection and exploitation of research results.

A call for proposals was issued in 1989 and 28 shared-cost research projects were selected, covering 41 out of the 52 subtopics contained in the workprogramme. An interim evaluation report on the programme was produced in June 1990 and a final report in June 1991.