NASA awards Boeing Sustainable Flight Demonstrator contract


NASA has selected Boeing to lead the development and flight testing of a full-scale Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (TTBW) demonstrator aircraft.

The technology is being developed as part of the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator (SFD) programme. According to NASA, when combined with expected advancements in propulsion systems, materials, and systems architecture, a single-aisle airplane with a TTBW configuration could reduce fuel consumption and emissions up to 30% compared to today’s most efficient single-aisle aircraft. 

“The SFD programme has the potential to make a major contribution toward a sustainable future,” said Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief engineer and executive vice president of Engineering, Test & Technology. “It represents an opportunity to design, build and fly a full-scale experimental plane, while solving novel technical problems.”

It is thought that ultra-thin wings braced by struts, with larger spans and higher-aspect ratios, could accommodate advanced propulsion systems that are limited by a lack of underwing space in current low-wing configurations. For the demonstrator vehicle, Boeing will integrate existing elements with all-new components.

NASA’s funding through the SFD Space Act Agreement totals $425m. The programme will also have access to up to $725m in funding from Boeing and its industry partners.