We helped develop the foundations – through the CRESCENDO project – for the Behavioural Digital Aircraft (BDA), the missing capability to enable the use of simulation throughout the development life cycle of an aircraft and within the entire supply chain.

Key Facts

    • The three-year European collaborative project called CRESCENDO (Collaborative and Robust Engineering using Simulation Capability Enabling Next Design Optimisation) secured total funding of more than €55 million.
    • The project consortium, led by Airbus, included 59 organisations from 13 countries, drawn from the aerospace and IT industries, advanced research centres and academic institutions.
    • It is the foundation for the Behavioural Digital Aircraft (BDA) concept, comprising generic capabilities for collaborative modelling and simulation.
  • Funded by European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Impact of our research

The Behavioural Digital Aircraft (BDA) design model in CRESCENDO successfully demonstrated seamless distributed aircraft behavioural simulation. This led to us receiving further research funding for two projects in the UK and Europe – CONGA (funded by Innovate UK, formerly Technology Strategy Board) and TOICA (again funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme).

The deployment and exploitation of the CRESCENDO research is expected to contribute to these high-level technical objectives: a 10% reduction of development life cycle duration and cost; a 50% reduction in rework; and a 20% reduction in the cost of physical tests.

CRESCENDO computer charts
Visualisation of the design space. Each point (top) and polyline (bottom) represent an aircraft.

Why the research was commissioned

European aircraft, engine and equipment manufacturers are facing greater challenges than ever before. The market demands that more complex products be developed with shorter lead times and more cost effectiveness, while using evolving business models involving multiple partners.

There is a need for new modelling, simulation and virtuality to be developed as modern complexity means issues cannot only be tackled by improving existing practices.

Why Cranfield?

Following our successful contribution to the VIVACE project (funded by the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme, FP6), we were invited to apply our expertise to the development of the Behavioural Digital Aircraft (BDA) concept in the CRESCENDO integrated project. This was led by Airbus and Rolls-Royce, and involved more than 50 partners – all recognised names in the international aerospace and IT industries.

Our research activities, primarily in the development and extension of numerical design capabilities, culminated in the implementation of our own model-based design tool, AirCADia – Explorer. Installation and testing in industrial laboratories during the CRESCENDO project contributed to the successful assessment of this novel software.