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RHEA - A CleanSky2 Joint Undertaking project

RHEA is a 42-month collaborative research project that stems from the ambition that future-generation aircraft with ultra-high-aspect-ratio wings and truly remarkable performance is now conceivable with forward-looking technologies and physics-based multidisciplinary analysis and optimization, under the paradigm of robustness- and sustainability-by-design-project.

The overarching objective of RHEA is to realize the conceptual and preliminary design of three innovative UHARW-A configurations by means of a combined numerical / experimental framework where multi-physics and multi-fidelity are natively combined together under the paradigm of robustness by means of a consistent treatment of uncertainties.


Project ID: 883670

Funding stream: H2020-CS2-CFP10-2019-01

Duration: 01.07.2020 - 31.12.2023

Coordination: TU Braunschweig (DE)

Consortium: University of Strathclyde (UK), Imperial College (UK), DNW Wind Tunnels (NL), IRT-Saint Exupery (FR)


RHEA project presented at the EASN conference (


Invited talk at Clean Sky 2 technology progress – Contribution to the environmental performance of the next generation of aircraft


RHEA project presented at the EASN conference (


RHEA kick-off meeting taking place remotely


RHEA project officially starts



RHEA has the ambitious objective to escalate the TRL of key technologies for ultra-high aspect-ratio wings and airframe to demonstrate that it will be possible to achieve the following goals for the next-gen aviation:

Up to 50% improvement in L/D

Up to 40% reduction in CO2 and NOx

-2dB to -4dB perceived noise

Up to 30% reduction in weight

5%-10% reduction in development costs

Aircraft and concept

The three key guiding principles of RHEA are: 1) relying on system-level approaches, where the basic system is aircraft with the constraints brought in by existing infrastructure; 2) making uncertainty on operating conditions and disciplinary methods pervasive during the design phases; and 3) exploiting at best the availability of high-fidelity knowledge on the underlying physics at each design optimization stage.




  • Cea, A., Palacios, R., (2022) Parametric Reduced Order Models for Aeroelastic Design of Very Flexible Aircraft. AIAA SciTech 2022. January

  • Nagy, P. Fortunato, G. and Fossati, M. (2021) Adaptive reduced order modelling of steady aerodynamic flows over ultra-high aspect ratio wings. UK fluids conference 2021. September

  • Ma, Y., Elham, A. (2021) Twin-fuselage configuration for improving fuel efficiency of passenger aircraft, Aerospace Science and Technology, Vol 118.

  • Ma, Y., Karpuk, S., Elham, A. (2021) Conceptual design and comparative study of strut-braced wing and twin-fuselage aircraft configurations with ultra-high aspect ratio wings, AIAA Aviation Forum, August. 

  • Ma. Y., Minisci, E., Elham, A., (2021) Investigating the Influence of Uncertainty in Novel Airframe Technologies on Realizing Ultra-high Aspect Ratio Wings. AeroBest 2021, August.

  • Fortunato, G., Pascarella, G, Minisci, E., Fossati, M. (2021). Assessment of Model Uncertainty of Nonlinear Reduced Order Methods for Aerodynamic Design. AIAA Aviation Forum, August.

  • Fossati, M., Elham, A., Radespiel, R., Palacios, R., Gazaix, A., Kapteijn, K., Minisci, E. (2021). Robust- and sustainable-by-design UHAR wing and airframe. Clean Sky 2 technology progress – Contribution to the environmental performance of the next generation of aircraft. Universidad Carlos 3, Madrid, March.

  • Fortunato, G., Pascarella, G. Barrenechea, G., Fossati, M. (2021). Residual-based error estimation for adaptive reduced order modelling​. SIAM CSE 2021 Minisymposium: Reduced Order Modeling for Parametric CFD Problems, March.

  • Fortunato, G., Pascarella, G, Barrenechea, G., Fossati, M. (2020). Adaptive Reduced Order Modelling for Steady Aerodynamics Flows. AIAA Scitech Forum, January.

  • Elham, A., Radespiel, R., Fossati, M., Palacios, R., Gazaix, A., Artois , K. (2020). RHEA: Robust by design ultra high aspect ratio wing and airframe. 10th EASN Conference. September.

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