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May 27, 2024
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There have been blended-wing body (BWB) aircraft designs test-flown as models in recent years, but the ‘real thing’ is getting a step closer to reality than ever before. That is thanks to the US Air Force, which awarded $235 million in funding to US start-up JetZero to build a full-scale demonstrator that should fly in 2027. This sounds ambitious but, if successful, could mean a breakthrough for the blended-wing body.

The Defense Innovation Unit of the Department of Defense and the US Air Force announced the selection on Wednesday, having carefully evaluated blended-wing-body concepts and their benefits. From their aerodynamic shape, a BWB promises a 30 to 50 percent reduction in fuel burn over a conventional aircraft design while offering more payload capability and ample space for passengers. NASA has spent some $1.0 billion on BWB research over the past three decades.

 


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Richard Schuurman
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016. Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.