New fuel systems for tiltrotor

Research project title

DEFENDER – Design,  development , manufacturing, testing and Flight qualification of nExt generation fuel storage system

Scientific Area

Manufacturing and system design


The DEFENDER project is aimed at developing, manufacturing, testing, and qualifying innovative next generation fuel storage systems s to be integrated into the Next Generation Civil Tiltrotor (NextGenCTR) framed in the Fast Rotorcraft (FRC) Innovative Aircraft Demonstrator Platform (IADP) defined in Clean Sky 2.

Descritpion of the project

The Tiltrotor is an aircraft combining the technologies of elicopters and airlpanes: it generates lift and propulsion by way of one or more powered rotors mounted on rotating engine pods, so obtaining the vertical lift capability of a helicopter with the speed and range of a conventional fixed-wing aircraft.

DEFENDER project will improve the tiltrotor fuel system pursuing the following objectives:

  1. Definition of project requirements in such a way to provide as many innovations as possible for the fuel-storage-system design. 
  2. Design and development of the fuel storage system;
  3.  Design and development of all the FSS mechanical protection;
  4. A Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) to define environmental impact of the adopted technologies;
  5. Manufacturing of the Fuel sub-system (FSS);
  6. Testing and Qualification of the FSS;
  7. Support for the integration, flight test activities and achievement of the “Permit-to-Fly”.

Impact on the society

The innovation introduced by the project will be able to significantly improve the current fuel systems production and maintenance procedures.

The expected quantitavive advantages are:

  • Up To 15% weight reduction
  • Minimum 20% manufacturing and maintenance cost reduction
  • Minimum 20 % lead-time reduction
  • Significant Eco-Impact reduction
  • Significant Safety Improvement

Working Group @ POLITO

The project will be coordinated by the MUL2 research group.

The people involved are:
Erasmo Carrera, project coordinator, Full professor
Matteo Filippi, Postdoc researcher 
Marco Petrolo, Researcher
Alfonso Pagani, Researcher


Step Sud Mare S.r.l. (SSM) (Italy)
Italian Aerospace Center (CIRA) (Italy)
Aero Sekur S.p.a. (AS) (Italy)

Defender project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 738078

  • Budget: 1.426.470 €
  • Start date: 1/04/2017
  • End date: 31/03/2021