SICO Project- Program Agreement with the Apulia Region


 Development of a Control System for Aero Engines and Aero derivatives

Operation co-financed by the European Fund for Regional Development Apulia

POR Apulia 2014 - 2020 "Investing in your future"

ASSE I - Specific Objective 1 - Action 1.1 (R & S)

 Program Contract with the Apulia Region, approved by resolution CMP / DEL / 2016/00042 of 22/12/2016



If the aeroengine is the technological heart of the aircraft, the control system can be considered as the brain of the engine, equipped with sensors and actuators.

The control system manages the engine’s operation in every phase of the in-flight service, avoiding the risk of stalling, combustor shutdown, over temperature conditions, over speed and over pressure. It also governs the necessary adaptations to sudden changes due to environmental conditions and the maneuvers of the aircraft, ensuring reliable performance.

Its "intelligence" lays in the control unit that, after acquiring different signals both internal and external from the engine, processes them providing the necessary instructions to change the settings. To do this, it uses a network of sensors to "understand" what happens and intervenes with the actuators in order to implement any adjustment. The actuators are driven through electric and fluid systems.

The SICO project focuses on the development of an innovative control system. The goal is the acquisition of multi-disciplinary knowledge, not available today in Apulia nor in Italy, for the creation of a comprehensive control system for aircraft engines characterized by high power and autonomy, also usable for unmanned aircraft.

The main drivers that guide the activities of the Industrial Research and the Experimental Development are:

  • the reduction of fuel consumption to minimize the environmental impact and the end-user operating costs of the aircraft
  • reliability, to increase the safety of passengers and the reduction of end user maintenance costs of the aircraft
  • the increase of the power available for the purpose of a greater operability of the aircraft.

The project activities will be verified through an important experimental campaign that involves the design and construction of two test benches:

- the "Dry Rig" can be defined as a real-time simulator capable of simulating an aircraft engine and its accessories and will be used to test control logics;

- The "Wet Rig" allow to verify the behavior of the control system taking into account both the physical and simulated signals of the  engine and accessories.

The SICO Research and Development Project - subject of the Program Agreement between Avio Aero and the Apulia Region – started in May 2016 and will last 4 years. The Avio Aero Laboratory in Bari will be the main activities site.

The loan recognized is of € 16.5 Million euro on a total of € 29.3 Million costs.