Continuous detonation wave engine

The Airbus Group is pursuing this innovative propulsion concept in a cooperative program with Russian institutions and a grant from the Skolkovo Foundation.

The continuous detonation wave engine (CDWE) is a radical new technology which could offer significantly more efficient and capable propulsion systems for civil aircraft – with expectations to deliver substantial fuel savings while reducing emissions.

When fitted to a conventional jet engine, CDWE technology offers to transform overall engine performance and simplify its design by using detonation waves to combust the fuel and oxidizer mixture. Theoretically, this system can operate from subsonic up to a hypersonic flight speed of roughly Mach 5, with higher efficiency than designs such as turbojets and turbofans. This is because a detonation wave rapidly compresses the mixture and adds heat at constant volume – providing a thermal efficiency improvement of approximately 25 percent.

To demonstrate the concept’s feasibility, tests have been carried out to evaluate a CDWE combustion chamber, performed in a Novosibirsk test cell operated by the Lavrentiev Institute’s Heterogeneous Systems Dynamics Laboratory.

Support from Russia’s innovation hub

This innovative research program results from the Airbus Group’s close working relationship with the Skolkovo high-tech campus, through which the company’s Airbus Group Innovations-Russia operation is coordinated.

In 2011, the Skolkovo Foundation – which is responsible for the Russian Skolkovo Innovation Center – awarded the Airbus Group (then EADS) and its partners a grant for the joint-research project covering continuous wave detonation. This sponsorship provides a basis of the research into developing continuous detonation wave engines’ future applications for the Airbus Group and its Lavrentiev Institute and Central Institute for Aviation Motors (CIAM) partners.

Partnership with technological pioneers

As the corporate research and technology arm of a world-class aerospace, defense and related services company, Airbus Group Innovations is building on its know-how with Russia’s leading research centers for the CDWE project. This program brings together decades of research with the Airbus Group’s expertise in translating technology into successful applications.

The Lavrentiev Institute’s core areas of focus include: continuous medium mechanic mathematical problems; high-energy process physics and mechanics; fluid and gas mechanics; and deformable solid body mechanics.

This program’s other partner – the Central Institute for Aviation Motors – possess a unique set of test benches capable of simulation altitude and airspeed conditions for a range of engines and scenarios such as: hydrogen- and hydrocarbon-powered hypersonic ramjets; jet engines under icing conditions; contra-rotating un-ducted helical prop fans; and independently testing compressor stages.


Airbus Group Innovations Russia
3 Pokrovsky boulevard, Building 1b, Floor 4, Moscow, 109028, Russia

Marina Evans – Director General.
Telephone: +7 495 988 22 65
Fax: +7 495 984 81 22

Dmitry Bondarenko (PhD, Associate Professor) – lead manager and science board leader of CDWE project.
32A Leninsky Prospect, Moscow, 119991 Russia
Telephone: +7 495 988 22 65
Fax: +7 495 984 81 22
Mobile: +7 916 625 53 81