Information day

SAVE THE DATE for the information day on the NGCAT R&D call 2024


Defence-related Research Action: thematic call for research and development proposals in the field of Next Generation Combat Air Technologies (NGCAT) is open!

To inform potential applicants about the context, scope and modalities of this call and to offer them networking opportunities, an information day has been organised.

Themes & budget

More information on the call themes and budget

  Max TRL Indicative budget in M€
Theme 1 - Structures and associated subsystems
6 12 24
Theme 2 - Propulsion and accessories 6 6
Theme 3 - Communication, cyber, avionics, embedded sensors and networks 6 10
Theme 4 - Transversal disruptive enabling technologies 7 8
TOTAL 60 M€    36 24

More information on the call themes...

The projects will have a duration of minimum 24 to maximum 30 months.

Event details

Date: 7 May 2024, 13:30 - 18:00
Location: Royal Military Academy
Organizer: RHID, in cooperation with BELSPO

Programme 07/05/2024

13h30 : Registration
14h00 : Welcome & general introduction
14h15 : Context and objectives
14h30 : Content of the NGCAT Call : timeline and themes
15h20 : Eligibility criteria for the consortia
15h40 : Submission procedure and use of the platform
15h55 : Evaluation procedure
16h10 : Q&A
16h40 : Closure and reception
18h00 : End of Infoday


More information on the call themes

Theme 1: Structures and associated subsystems

Next Generation aircraft platforms (both next generation fighter and remote carrier types) rely on new technologies such as high-precision manufacturing, smart surfaces technologies, light-weight design and manufacturing techniques.
Complete wing like structures and sections will include the electrification of the actuation system for high-lift and control surfaces, ensuring high-performance, lower weight and increased reliability, with health monitoring for predictive maintenance and self-tests, complexity reduction and Line Replaceable Unit/Modules approach for fast replacement. The aerodynamical surfaces will consider smart surfaces technology, with multi-materials, structural health monitoring and damage-tolerant design.
Innovative approaches for thermal management to ensure the complete temperature control of the equipment and body surface temperature control for reduced IR signature and advanced technologies for structural integration of battery packs and active flow control (to support manoeuvring with reduction of the radar signature) are of interest.

Technology focus areas are:

  • Improving low observability (stealth) aspects, including high precision manufacturing techniques;
  • Aerodynamical performances;
  • Energy efficiency & thermal management;
  • Supersonic research related to aerodynamic stability, shock waves and sonic booms;
  • Advanced materials and structural designs, such as composites, high strength steels, hybrid and smart materials;
  • Internal system layout design;
  • External coatings to reduce radar and infrared reflections / emissions;
  • Engineering of innovative system sustainment (Concept & Tooling);
  • Electro-mechanical actuators for high-lift control surfaces;
  • Increasing European technological autonomy.

Theme 2: Propulsion and accessories

Future Integrated Propulsion System will be able to deliver propulsive and non-propulsive energy. For propulsive energy, the challenge is on the one hand to be able to deliver a high thrust for interception missions and on the other hand, to have a low fuel consumption in order to allow endurance flight for loitering missions or extended range for penetration missions. For the non-propulsive energy (mainly electricity produced by electrical generators), the challenge is the ability to deliver variable amount of energy without any impact on the delivery of thrust or the engine’s operability.

Hereafter is a short list of the main coming challenges in propulsion and accessories for which the Belgian industry is in a strong position to bring added value:

  • Variable Cycle Engine: Allowing alternatively high thrust for interception missions and reduced fuel consumption for long mission;
  • Energy consumption: Increasing energetic efficiency and decreasing dry weight;
  • Test capabilities: Be able to test Compressors and critical components in altitude conditions, and thrust vectoring and power extraction on ground test facilities;
  • Thermal Management: higher compactness and increasing electrification will require improved Heat Exchangers.
  • Here are different strains of technology roadmaps for which the Belgian industry is able to bring added value in order to address the challenges defined previously.

Technology focus areas are:

  • System architecture & integration modelling;
  • Advanced high operability, high efficiency compressors;
  • Inspections & repairs advanced technologies;
  • Engine thrust vectoring measurement systems;
  • Test equipment able to capture electrical power and to reinject it afterwards;
  • Thermal Management and associated simulation;
  • Advanced high compactness, high efficiency heat exchangers;
  • Propulsion system miniaturization;
  • Electrification and more electrical equipment;
  • Increasing European technological autonomy.

Theme 3: Communication, cyber, avionics, embedded sensors and networks

Cloud Combat and C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) are critical domains in the modern battlefield. In recent years, advances in technology have led to the development of Cloud Combat Platforms, which are designed to enhance the situational awareness and decision-making capabilities of military personnel. These platforms leverage cloud computing, big data, distributed computing, advanced communications, and autonomous and collaborative operations to provide real-time insights and analysis.
In today's interconnected world, the aviation industry is experiencing rapid technological advancements aimed at enhancing efficiency, safety and situational awareness. However, this progress also brings forth a myriad of challenges in fields such as cybersecurity, communication, on-board computing power, big-data management, sensor fusion, visualization technologies etc. In an interconnected environment with multiple manned and unmanned assets, enhanced manned-unmanned teaming is paramount to operational success.
As the boundaries between the digital and physical world blur, the need to prioritize and strengthen cybersecurity in aviation becomes paramount. Next-generation combat aircraft technologies are continuously evolving to meet the increasing demands of modern warfare. Nonetheless, these advancements also introduce new cybersecurity challenges that must be addressed to ensure the safety, reliability, and effectiveness of these systems.

Technology focus areas are:

  • Design, Development, Manufacturing and Qualification of Avionics, Sensors and Effectors;
  • Integration of Systems;
  • Large, redundant avionic display devices;
  • Airborne Computers able to cope with the increased demand for computing power, big data handling etc;
  • Information Systems and Complex Computing Solutions;
  • Airborne and Ground Communications, including cyber;
  • Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems, with focus on miniaturization and cost-reduction;
  • Enhanced Computer Vision;
  • Effectors and related technologies;
  • Enhanced pilot interfaces and interaction for high performance cockpits;
  • Increasing European technological autonomy.

Theme 4: Transversal disruptive enabling technologies

Transversal disruptive technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Materials, Internet of Things (IoT), Additive Manufacturing, Energy Management, along with Advanced Modelling, Digital Twins and Digital Threads, Cloud Computing and Big Data Analytics, are revolutionizing all the subdomains of Structures and Subsystems, Propulsion and Accessories, and Communication, Cyber, Avionics, and Networks in the defence and aviation sectors. These technologies enable smarter, more efficient, and secure operations, enhancing everything from design, engineering, manufacturing and in service support and are essential for increasing European technological autonomy.