Aeronautics: sector competitiveness

“The IRTs serve as a real-world field application for Corac roadmaps. Airbus is very proud that the IRTs were created and will continue to invest money, personnel and energy to support them.”
Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice-President of Engineering for Airbus Commercial Aircraft

Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice-President of Engineering for Airbus Commercial Aircraft, spoke about the fast-growing aeronautics sector, with its 39 billion euros in revenue, 200,000 direct jobs, and growth from 500 aircraft per year when IRTs were created, to 800 by the end of this year. With the A320, Airbus was able to leverage electronic flight controls to reduce crew to two members.
The number of pilots will not evolve at the same rate as the number of aircraft, so Airbus is also studying drone autonomy for flying taxis. The energy transition is a major concern for Airbus, as it takes twice the aircraft’s mass in batteries to fly an A320 from Toulouse to Paris with electric motors. The French sector is quite strong, governed by Gifas* for industry, and by Corac** for research, with IRTs contributing as effective tools.

Jean-Brice Dumont gave six examples of collaborative research with four IRTs, including Jules Verne, on high-temperature metal shaping processes for manufacturing aeronautical and naval parts. This takes Airbus into the factory of the future where robotics is critical for major integrators. With IRT Saint Exupéry, the multidisciplinary optimisation project leverages a science of manipulating major decision-making processes beyond aeronautics. The Moise project provides digital continuity for model-based engineering in extended organisations with competing companies all growing together. With IRT M2P, the project involves Reach-compatible chrome coatings and surface finishing for additive manufacturing parts. The ongoing project with IRT SystemX addresses cybersecurity in autonomous systems, in convergence with trains and cars.

*French Aerospace Industries Association

**French Research Council for Civil Aeronautics