Airbus, EADS innovate with stealth building

Airbus, with the support of EADS Innovation Works, has opened the first ‘stealth building’ at the Toulouse Airbus site attached to Blagnac Airport.

EADS and Airbus built the C65 hangar at the airport by equipping the building with specially shaped aluminium panels. These panels prevent the building from disrupting the airport’s Instrument Landing System (ILS), which allows aircraft to land in reduced visibility conditions.

For safety reasons, planning permission would not have been granted for the building without these modifications.

The large façades of buildings pose a problem for aircraft landing systems as they reflect incoming radio waves across the runway, much like a mirror. Such disturbance could cause aircraft to deviate from the runway centreline. For this reason construction is forbidden close to runways unless it can be demonstrated that the building is ‘stealthy’.

However, it is not feasible to apply conventional stealth technology to absorb the incoming waves since this would be prohibitively expensive. Instead the solution applied in Toulouse uses the phenomenon of diffraction to redirect the waves away from the  runway.

This  is  the  same  effect  that  produces  the iridescent  colours  that  are  visible  when  holding  up a compact  disc  up to a source   of  light.  By  employing   ELISE,  an  advanced ILS  simulation tool developed by Airbus Engineering, EADS Innovation Works and the French Civil Aviation University ENAC it was even possible to demonstrate that it would only be necessary to treat the top 10 metres of the building, leading to a cheaper solution.

EADS Chief Technical Officer Jean Botti said: “The successful completion  of this Airbus facility requirement is an example of our commitment to the development of unique technical solutions for our customers and the aerospace industry.”

Airbus ProSky will now sell this technology  assisted by the technical support from  EADS  Innovation  Works.  Airbus  ProSky  CEO  Paul-Franck  Bijou  said: “By designing buildings that do not produce reflections, up to 100 square kilometres  of non-buildable  airport land worldwide could potentially  be transformed into space available for construction, such as terminal buildings, maintenance  hangars,  or  even  outside  airport  boundaries  like  exhibitions centres, hotels and multi storey car parks.”

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