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Tilt Rotor Integrated Air Intake and Engine Protection Systems

Project description

Making progress towards the optimisation of the Leonardo Next-Generation Civil Tiltrotor

The Leonardo Next-Generation Civil Tiltrotor (NextGenCTR) is a tiltrotor aircraft demonstrator that will take to the skies in 2023. To become a viable aircraft, it must safely operate in harsh environmental conditions, characterised by contaminated air flows and ice. The EU-funded TRIcEPS project plans to develop air intakes with integrated engine protection systems for the NextGenCTR. In particular, it will develop a removable thermoelectric ice protection system based on heating layer technology and a vortex tube filter to protect the engine from particle ingestion. The full system will undergo extensive testing in icing wind tunnels and then in the air.


TRIcEPS aims at fulfilling all the requirements of the JTI-CS2-2018-CfP08-FRC-01-21, “Development of integrated engine air intake and protection systems for Tilt Rotor” by designing, manufacturing, testing and qualifying the air intakes and their integrated engine protection system for the NextGenCTR technology demonstrator, contributing to meet the goals of the CS2JU FRC WP1. The proposed engine protection system is geared on two key enabling technologies:
• a removable thermoelectric ice protection system based on the heater layer technology. This is already under development on the blade of the NextGenCTR and on the wing of the regional aircraft;
• a vortex tubes filter for protecting the engine from ingestion of particles in harsh environment.
The air intake will be equipped with a bypass for operation in clean flow and a compressor washing system. The choice of a vortex tubes instead of a barrier filter is key in TRIcEPS. This solution, despite providing 1-to-2% lower particle separation efficiency, allows for:
• full self-cleaning capabilities, thus not requiring maintenance (i.e. fit and forget approach);
• stable pressure drop in brownout operation, resulting in no need of emergency bypass actuation which would expose the engine to the harsh environment;
• significantly reduced icing issues;
• easier flight certification path, according to FAA;
resulting in the best technical compromise for the NextGenCTR considering its mission profile. Moreover, this choice does not to infringe IPRs on tilt rotor air intake (as per patenting activities by Bell Helicopters on barrier filter), thus securing the position of Leonardo with respect to the future market.
TRIcEPS will deliver the air intake, its engine protection system and all the relevant sub-systems at TRL 7, supplying Leonardo with the reference technical solution for engine protection of the NextGenCTR, strengthening the competitiveness of the European rotorcraft industry.



Net EU contribution
€ 605 065,00
Giefinggasse 4
1210 Wien

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Ostösterreich Wien Wien
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (6)