Active Flow Control in early stage aircraft design will enable revolutionary capabilities

MANASSAS, Va., Nov. 12, 2020 — Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing Company, aims to develop an experimental plane under a new Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contract. The X-plane seeks to demonstrate the advanced capabilities of Active Flow Control (AFC) as a primary design consideration.

Through DARPA’s Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors (CRANE) program, Aurora is under contract for Phase 0 in partnership with Boeing and the University of Arizona. The team will develop tools and technology for incorporating AFC in the early stages of aircraft design to later demonstrate in a custom X-plane.

During Phase 0, Aurora will study AFC-enabled designs across multiple mission domains for one year to identify an X-plane demonstrator concept. Phase 1 will follow with preliminary design of an X-plane demonstrator.

“This team builds upon decades of AFC research and prototyping, including flight tests of full-scale implementations,” said Per Beith, Aurora President and CEO. “Together with DARPA, we can enable fundamentally new approaches to aircraft design and look forward to exploring game-changing configurations.”

About Aurora Flight Sciences

Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing Company, specializes in creating advanced aircraft through the development of versatile and intuitive autonomous systems, in addition to advanced composite manufacturing. Operating at the intersection of technology and robotic aviation, Aurora leverages the power of autonomy to make manned and unmanned flight safer and more efficient. For more information, visit

# # #


Kelsey Swanson
Aurora Flight Sciences
+1 610-379-6191