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Lockheed calculates the aircraft will burn 70% less fuel than the Boeing C-17 through a combination of better aerodynamics, newer engines and lighter structures.
The conventional T tail incurs a 5% drag penalty relative to a pure BWB, but provides robust control and avoids the cost and risk of developing new control effectors and algorithms for a flying wing to enable STOL and manage the abrupt center-of-gravity (CG) shift when airdropping heavy loads.
Over-wing nacelles have long been avoided in aircraft design because of adverse transonic interference with the wing, but careful optimization by Honda of the engine location on the HondaJet has given the configuration new credibility.
Interestingly, despite diameters ranging from the GEnx's 11.8 ft. to an open rotor's 21 ft., “the wing optimized out to the same shape for all three engines,” says Wick. "The same wing for all three allows the engine installation to be modular. We could build it today and it would be designed to be able to be reengined."