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Social issue oriented technology development : Realization of Safe, Environment-friendly Air Transportation and Advancement of Space Utilization

Social issue oriented technology development : Realization of Safe, Environment-friendly Air Transportation and Advancement of Space Utilization


※The author's affiliation name is as of the time of publication.
※The information contained in IHI ENGINEERING REVIEW is as of the time of publication. Please note that development and product manufacturing may have been terminated.

Aero Engines

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IHI has been developing a next-generation aero engine for further reducing environmental burden while mass-producing civil aero engines various in size from supersized ones to small ones.

GE9X engine is a turbofan engine for a large civil aircraft, Boeing 777X. This is the world’s largest civil aero turbofan engine and has the lowest fuel consumption rate. IHI participated in the development mainly of rotating parts of the low-pressure turbine. We greatly contributed to the reduction of fuel consumption rate and weight by introducing new technologies, such as development of the world’s largest low-pressure turbine disc and the hollow-structured turbine rotor blade with use of single-crystal materials.

PW1100G-JM engine is the latest engine for a middle- to small- sized civil aircraft, Airbus A320neo. This engine is equipped with an advanced gear system. IHI, as a member of Japanese Aero Engines Corporation, participated in the development project in charge of designing, developing, and manufacturing several components including a fan and a low-pressure compressor module. Our original materials and designs were adopted to it, such as a fan case and fan exit guide vanes to which our composite material technology was applied. These results greatly contributed to the reduction of fuel consumption rate, weight, CO2 emissions, and noise.

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Passport 20 engine is a turbofan engine for large, twin-engine business jets, Bombardier Global 7500 and Global 8000, which went into service in 2018. IHI participated in the development project in charge of designing, developing, and manufacturing its fan stator, low pressure turbine and gear drive system and other components. And our original numerical analysis and telemetry analysis technologies were adopted. This engine is highly evaluated in the market because it satisfies world-class requirements of reduced fuel consumption rate, environmental sustainability, and lightweightness.

In addition, an electrified system of aircrafts and engines is expected as one form of human- and earth-friendly, ideal aircrafts by airlines and airframe manufacturers. With the aim of creating an innovative system to realize the electrification, IHI has been developing technology through open innovation beyond individual corporate frameworks.

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Rocket System and Space Utilization

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As already reported by the media, Hayabusa2, a spacecraft for a small asteroid survey, managed to land on a small asteroid named Ryugu, completed its asteroid sample-return mission, and finally returned safely to the earth in December 2020. As a component of the spacecraft, MEISEI ELECTRIC CO., LTD., a company in the IHI Group, manufactured the DCAM3 deployable camera to take high-resolution pictures at the moment of collision between the Small Carry-On Impactor and the asteroid in the course of the sub-surface sample collection.

Taking another example, Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace, Arase was launched to the space in 2016, and is engaging in the world’s first detailed observation in the Van Allen belt. The further knowledge of the environment in the Van Allen belt is essential for our society to normally operate important satellite systems and to extend space activities because radiation in the belt may affect human bodies and devices harmfully. To ravel the belt, Arase was launched and successfully injected into the orbit by Epsilon, which was developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and IHI AEROSPACE Co., Ltd.

In manufacturing metal parts including rocket engine parts, a 3D printer has the following advantages: (1) high flexibility in manufacturable shape, (2) low manufacturing cost for small-lot production, and (3) shortening of manufacturing period. To incorporate these advantages, IHI has been developing a turbopump that is a core component of the H3 launch vehicle and methods for manufacturing rocket engine parts with a 3D printer.


In addition, IHI AEROSPACE Co., Ltd. participates in the development of a solid rocket booster and an attitude control gas jet for the H3 launch vehicle under the development contract to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The H3 launch vehicle, as a Japan’s flagship launch vehicle, is expected to have the first launch in FY2021.

In recent years, there is an accelerating trend to develop all-electric satellites by using an electric propulsion device not only for attitude control in geostationary orbit but also for orbital transfer. IHI AEROSPACE Co., Ltd. has been developing a hall thruster, a kind of electric propulsion devices, for all-electric satellites in cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.


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