Centre for Aerospace Manufacturing

The ASTRAL project aims to meet these targets by proposing innovative and ground breaking design, manufacturing and testing solutions for the wings of the future fast compound rotorcraft. The project will specifically focus on new digital design and simulation techniques, combined with future highly efficient, quality-driven cost-effective manufacturing solutions that will be rigorously tested and validated to deliver the underlining technologies for a world leading future rotorcraft wing.​

The ASTRAL project sits within the Airframe Integrated Technology Demonstrator (ITD) and feeds in to the RACER Demonstrator in the Fast Rotorcraft Innovative Aircraft Demonstrator Platform (IADP). 

ASTRAL 466x335


Advanced Wing Structure for Rotorcraft Additional Lift Demonstrator

The ASTRAL project was launched in July 2015 and runs to the end of December 2020.​


The European aerospace sector is facing strong international competition, ever increasing customer expectations and stricter environmental regulations. ​

Fuel burn, noise and emissions are directly related to aircraft drag which increases proportionately with lift, which must be generated to counteract the aircraft's weight. Weight reduction is therefore of primary concern.​

ASTRAL will produce a lighter stiffer fully optimised prototype wing structure taking full advantage of the use of high performance ecological materials, integrating components for reduced assembly and delivering dramatic weight and drag reduction. The work will be guided by the following objectives:​

  • Optimised design for weight reduction​
  • Optimised design for drag reduction and high speed​
  • Optimised design for cost reduction
  • Development of highly efficient and ecologically friendly manufacturing solutions
  • Prototype assembly, tooling and validation​
  • Prototype testing and contribution to the Permit to Fly​


The ASTRAL project forms an important element in the drive to achieve the lower emissions stipulated in the ACARE targets through the development of advanced design and manufacture technologies that will reduce aircraft weight and introduce better aircraft performance resulting in significant reduction in fuel burn and emissions.​

​The project aims to develop:​

  • Greater aerodynamic efficiency​
  • Greater agility and speed​
  • Continued competitiveness of the European aerospace industry through contribution to the state-of-the art rotorcraft demonstrator and through translation of results to other aircraft.​

​Specific research outputs will include: ​

  • Development of innovative numerical optimisation methods for design and stress analysis​
  • Cost modelling for selection of manufacturing and assembly strategies​
  • Demonstration of novel manufacturing and assembly methods, including:

    • AFP wing skin panels​
    • Novel assembly fixtures and component clamping​
    • Automated sealant application​
    • Automated nut plate installation​
    • Collaborative robots for dexterous processes​
    • Virtual reality applications for assembly planning​ ​

Project Team




CleanSky2 logo 208

Project Reference

 H2020-CS2-CPW01-2014-01-671436 - ASTRAL

Project Partners

Contact us to find out more​...

To find out more about how you can engage with the ASTRAL Project Team please email  Svetan Ratchev or  Alison Turner.​


Centre for Aerospace Manufacturing

Advanced Manufacturing Building
Jubilee Campus
Nottingham, NG7 2GX

email: Svetan.Ratchev@nottingham.ac.uk