Neuron is a joint European project with the purpose to develop a UCAV-demonstrator (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle) including aeronautical future cutting-edge technology. Neuron is one of the most ambitious and high profileaeronautical projects in Europe this decade.

Building an airplane from the inside out
SAAB Aerosystems, Sweden, responsible for the design and assembly of the fuselage, avionics and fuel system, has taken a different approach on the assembly procedure, rather than using traditionally methods. Building an airplane from the inside out. Can it be done? Yes, with the help of an innovative fixturing design new possibilities haveemerged. A number of flexible fixtes, or “hexapods”, are used to support the fuselage during assembly. As additional parts to the fuselage are added in the different assembly stages, new fixtues are added or moved to new locations on the structure, thus giving maximum support and also enabling an optimal accessibility around the fuselage for the operators.

Innovative fixture design
The hexapod fixtue was, over some years, developed at the University of Linköping together with partners SAAB, Delfoi, ETP and other industries. The fixtue, can through the six arm design, be adjusted into any position required. The keyless hydraulic hub-shaft connection, ETP-EXPRESS, designed and developed by ETP Transmission AB Sweden, fastens each arm. This enables a completely stepless length adjustment and positioning of the fixtue. As the hydraulic ETP-EXPRESS when mounted only expands in the radial direction against arm and hub, no axial displacement occurs and the adjusted position will be maintained with high precision. High precision needed for the fuselage assembly. 

For the future 
The project will produce an unmanned aerial vehicle to serve as a technology demonstrator. It will never be produced in series or be operational. However the main attractions of the Neuron project are the new technologies, experiences and knowledge being developed as a part of the project. Technologies adaptable to the next generations UAV aircrafts.

The craft:
Crew: 0  
Length: 9.3 meters
Wingspann: 12.5 meters
Weight: 6 700 Kg
Max. flight time 3 hours
Max. speed: 0.9 Mach

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