. Scientific Frontline: Aviation
Showing posts with label Aviation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Aviation. Show all posts

Thursday, February 2, 2023

DARPA Selects Performer Teams for Liberty Lifter X-Plane Program

Liberty Lifter
Illustration Credit: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Two teams -- General Atomics working with Maritime Applied Physics Corporation and Aurora Flight Sciences working with Gibbs & Cox and ReconCraft -- will develop designs for DARPA’s Liberty Lifter Seaplane Wing-in-Ground Effect full-scale demonstrator. The Liberty Lifter program aims to demonstrate a leap-ahead in operational capability by designing, building, floating, and flying a long-range, low-cost X-Plane capable of seaborne strategic and tactical heavy lift.

The planned Liberty Lifter demonstrator will be a large flying boat similar in size and capacity to the C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft. Goals include takeoff and land in Sea State 4, sustained on-water operation up to Sea State 5, and extended flight close to the water in ground effect with the capability to fly out of ground effect at altitudes up to 10,000 feet above sea level.

“We are excited to kick off this program and looking forward to working closely with both performer teams as they mature their point-of-departure design concepts through Phase 1,” said DARPA Liberty Lifter Program Manager Christopher Kent. “The two teams have taken distinctly different design approaches that will enable us to explore a relatively large design space during Phase 1.”

Monday, January 30, 2023

Second Hypersonic Air-Breathing Weapon Concept Launched From B-52 Accomplishes "All Test Objectives"

Artist’s concept of the DARPA and Lockheed Martin Hypersonic Air Breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC).
Illustration Credit: Lockheed Martin

DARPA's Latest HAWC Flight Test Demonstrates Mature, Affordable Hypersonic Systems Design and Manufacturing Techniques

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne team accomplished their primary objectives during its second Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) flight test doubling the amount of scramjet powered vehicle data.

Launching from a B-52, the HAWC system's first stage boosted it to the targeted engine ignition envelope, where the Aerojet Rocketdyne scramjet engine fired and accelerated the system to speeds in excess of Mach 5. The system performed as predicted travelling more than 300 nautical miles and reaching altitudes above 60,000 feet. 

Boeing Awarded U.S. Air Force Contract for 15 KC-46A Tankers

KC-46A Pegasus tanker
Photo Credit: Boeing

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing a $2.3 billion contract for the ninth production lot of 15 KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft, expanding its fleet of the world’s most advanced multi-mission aerial refueler. To date, 128 KC-46A Pegasus are on contract with the U.S. Air Force, with 68 delivered and operationally deployed worldwide.

“The combat-ready KC-46A is transforming the role of the tanker for the 21st century,” said James Burgess, vice president and KC-46 program manager. “We’re proud to work side-by-side with the Air Force ensuring the Pegasus provides unmatched capabilities and continues to evolve for the U.S. and its allies’ global mission needs.”

The KC-46A Pegasus delivers crucial fuel and data for the fleet, as well as cargo, personnel and aeromedical transportation for joint force rapid mobility, global reach and agile combat employment.

Friday, January 27, 2023

UNSW eco-friendly aviation research project receives CRC-P funding

Dr Branislav Hredzak and Professor John Fletcher have been awarded funding from Round 13 of the CRC Project scheme in collaboration with Dovetail Electric Aviation
Photo Credit: Dovetail Electric Aviation

An innovative UNSW research and development project focused on making regional commuter services greener and cheaper has been awarded a CRC-P grant.

Two UNSW Sydney researchers in collaboration with industry partners have been awarded $3 million in funding from the federal government’s Cooperative Research Centre Projects (CRC-P) program. This is part of a $12.8 million project that will convert a turboprop plane to electric propulsion, providing regional commuter services.

UNSW Senior Lecturer Dr Branislav Hredzak and Professor John Fletcher at the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications secured the funding from Round 13 of the CRC Project scheme, for the project 'Electric Conversion to Fast Track Zero Emissions Commercial Aviation', together with Dovetail Electric Aviation, Sydney Seaplanes, Memko Aviation, Aerospace and Defense and CSIRO.

The project will develop, flight test and certify the conversion to electric propulsion of a turboprop aircraft, which will make regional commuter services eco-friendlier and more affordable with a focus on emissions-free aircraft for use on regional routes in the future.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Lockheed Martin Announces Successful First Flight Of F-16 Block 70 Aircraft

F-16 Block 70 first flight
Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin Corporation

Lockheed Martin today announced the successful first flight of the F-16 Block 70 at its Greenville, South Carolina site. 

The flight occurred Jan. 24 at 9:17 a.m. ET, with Lockheed Martin test pilots Dwayne "Pro" Opella and Monessa "Siren" Balzhiser at the helm. Total flight time was approximately 50 minutes and included airworthiness checks, such as engine, flight control and fuel system checks, as well as basic aircraft handling. 

"Today's successful flight is a testament of the hard work, dedication and commitment to our customers and their missions," said OJ Sanchez, vice president, Integrated Fighter Group, which includes the F-16 program. "This milestone demonstrates Lockheed Martin's commitment to advancing this program and getting this much-needed aircraft and its advanced 21st Century Security capabilities to the warfighter."

This F-16 Block 70 jet is the first of 16 jets to be delivered to Bahrain. Six countries have selected Block 70/72 aircraft. In addition to the current official backlog of 128 jets to-date to be built in Greenville, Jordan last year signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for eight jets and last week signed an additional LOA for four more jets. Lockheed Martin has received a contract to begin Jordan's long-lead activities. Bulgaria has also signed an LOA for an additional eight jets for its fleet. Once these are finalized, the backlog will increase to 148.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

DARPA Selects Aurora Flight Sciences for Phase 2 of Active Flow Control X-Plane

DARPA CRANE X-Plane configuration in development for flight testing Active Flow Control (AFC) technologies
Image Credit: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

DARPA has selected Aurora Flight Sciences to move into the detailed design phase of the Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors (CRANE) program. This follows successful completion of the project’s Phase 1 preliminary design, which resulted in an innovative testbed aircraft that used active flow control (AFC) to generate control forces in a wind tunnel test. Phase 2 will focus on detailed design and development of flight software and controls, culminating in a critical design review of an X-plane demonstrator that can fly without traditional moving flight controls on the exterior of the wings and tail.

The contract includes a Phase 3 option in which DARPA intends to fly a 7,000-pound X-plane that addresses the two primary technical hurdles of incorporation of AFC into a full-scale aircraft and reliance on it for controlled flight. Unique features of the demonstrator aircraft will include modular wing configurations that enable future integration of advanced technologies for flight testing either by DARPA or potential transition partners.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Sikorsky Delivers 5,000th “Hawk,” Highlights Versatility And Future Of Iconic Helicopter

Sikorsky marks the delivery of the 5,000th “Hawk” helicopter, a UH-60M (pictured), at its headquarters in Stratford, Conn., Jan. 20, 2023.
Resized Image using AI by SFLORG
Photo Credit: Courtesy Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company.

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company (NYSE: LMT), today delivered its 5,000th “Hawk” variant helicopter, a U.S. Army UH-60M Black Hawk. The iconic aircraft will continue to support medium-lift requirements for the U.S. military and international operators for decades into the future.

Sikorsky celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

“Sikorsky, as a company, has been forged by the Black Hawk,” said Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo. “The Black Hawk and its variants deliver when reliability and performance are nonnegotiable. Hawk aircraft continue to demonstrate their versatility and readiness with the latest technological advancements and ongoing U.S. and global investment in the aircraft.”

Customers worldwide depend on the Black Hawk platform and its derivatives, including MH-60R/S maritime operations helicopters, MH-60T multi-mission helicopters, HH-60W rescue helicopters and internationally built S-70 Black Hawks to include the baseline FIREHAWK, which have all proven their versatility and capability across a spectrum of challenging mission sets.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Boeing Awarded NASA Sustainable Flight Demonstrator Contract

SFD Rendering
NASA has selected Boeing and its industry team to lead the development and flight testing of a full-scale Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (TTBW) demonstrator airplane.
Image Credit: Boeing

NASA has selected Boeing and its industry team to lead the development and flight testing of a full-scale Transonic Truss-Braced Wing (TTBW) demonstrator airplane.

The technologies demonstrated and tested as part of the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator (SFD) program will inform future designs and could lead to breakthrough aerodynamics and fuel efficiency gains.

When combined with expected advancements in propulsion systems, materials and systems architecture, a single-aisle airplane with a TTBW configuration could reduce fuel consumption and emissions up to 30% relative to today's most efficient single-aisle airplanes, depending on the mission. The SFD program aims to advance the civil aviation industry's commitment to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, as well as the goals set forth in the White House's U.S. Aviation Climate Action Plan.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Speeding up sugar's conversion into fuel

The research has accelerated the production rate and yield of isobutanol from sugar.
Photo Credit: Bishnu Sarangi

University of Queensland researchers have found a way to more efficiently convert sugarcane into a building block of aviation fuel and other products.

By zeroing in on a specific enzyme, a UQ team working in collaboration with the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has sped up the slowest step in processing sugar into a chemical called isobutanol.

Professor Gary Schenk from UQ’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences said isobutanol from a renewable resource could be used to make fuels, plastics, rubbers and food additives.

“Our research into this particular enzyme means we can accelerate the production rate and yield of isobutanol from sugarcane, ultimately enabling biomanufacturers to make diverse products at scale sustainably and efficiently,” Professor Schenk said.

“Usually during a biomanufacturing process, cells such as yeasts are used as a production platform, but in our research only a small number of a sugar acid-specific dehydratase enzyme was used.

Monday, January 9, 2023

Jet engine lubrication oils are a major source of ultrafine particles

Lubrication oil in the hot exhaust plume of an aircraft engine can form ultrafine particles as soon as the plume cools down. This has now been corroborated in a study by Goethe University Frankfurt and the Hessian Agency for Nature Conservation, Environment and Geology.   
Photo Credit: Alexander Vogel, Goethe University Frankfurt

Measurements conducted by the Hessian Agency for Nature Conservation, Environment and Geology (HLNUG) in recent years have shown that Frankfurt International Airport is a major source of ultrafine particles and that these can disperse over long distances across the city. In collaboration with experts at the HLNUG, researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt have now discovered that ultrafine particles partly consist of synthetic jet oils. The research team has deduced that emissions from lubrication oils must be lowered in addition to those from kerosene in order to reduce the concentration of ultrafine particles and thus improve air quality.

Ultrafine particles form during combustion processes, for example when wood or biomass is burned, as well as in power and industrial plants. Alongside road traffic, large airports are a major source of these ultrafine particles, which are less than 100 millionths of a millimeter (100 nanometers) in size. Because they are so small, they can penetrate deep into the lower respiratory tract, overcome the air-blood barrier and, depending on their composition, cause inflammatory reactions in the tissue, for example. What's more, ultrafine particles are suspected of being capable of triggering cardiovascular diseases.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Consortium develops sustainable aircraft engines

Flying without pollutant emissions should be possible in the future.
Photo Credit: RUB, Marquard

A new drive technology should make air travel possible with a clear conscience.

In the face of climate change, many people get on the plane with a guilty conscience: the emission of climate-damaging carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels is high. An international consortium wants to change this: The aim of the "MYTHOS" project is to develop aircraft engines that can flexibly use various sustainably produced fuels up to pure hydrogen. The project called "Medium-range hybrid low-pollution flexi-fuel / hydrogen sustainable engine" will start from 1. January 2023 funded by the European Union for four years. The coordination is carried out by Prof. Dr. Francesca di Mare, holder of the professorship for thermal turbo machines and aircraft engines of the RUB.

The overarching goal to which the project team is committed is nothing less than the decarbonization of aviation. "We will be developing and demonstrating a groundbreaking design methodology for future short and medium-range civil engines that can use a wide range of liquid and gaseous fuels and ultimately pure hydrogen," said Francesca di Mare. The fuels for which the engines are to be designed include so-called Sustainable Aviation Fuels, or SAF for short: sustainably produced fuels that are not based on fossil fuels. In order to achieve these goals, the MYTHOS consortium develops a multidisciplinary modeling approach for the characterization of the relevant engine components and uses methods of machine learning.

Monday, November 14, 2022

With new heat treatment, 3D-printed metals can withstand extreme conditions

A thin rod of 3D-printed superalloy is drawn out of a water bath, and through an induction coil, where it is heated to temperatures that transform its microstructure, making the material more resilient. The new MIT heat treatment could be used to reinforce 3D-printed gas turbine blades.
Credit: Dominic David Peachey

A new MIT-developed heat treatment transforms the microscopic structure of 3D-printed metals, making the materials stronger and more resilient in extreme thermal environments. The technique could make it possible to 3D print high-performance blades and vanes for power-generating gas turbines and jet engines, which would enable new designs with improved fuel consumption and energy efficiency.

Today’s gas turbine blades are manufactured through conventional casting processes in which molten metal is poured into complex molds and directionally solidified. These components are made from some of the most heat-resistant metal alloys on Earth, as they are designed to rotate at high speeds in extremely hot gas, extracting work to generate electricity in power plants and thrust in jet engines.

There is growing interest in manufacturing turbine blades through 3D-printing, which, in addition to its environmental and cost benefits, could allow manufacturers to quickly produce more intricate, energy-efficient blade geometries. But efforts to 3D-print turbine blades have yet to clear a big hurdle: creep.

In metallurgy, creep refers to a metal’s tendency to permanently deform in the face of persistent mechanical stress and high temperatures. While researchers have explored printing turbine blades, they have found that the printing process produces fine grains on the order of tens to hundreds of microns in size — a microstructure that is especially vulnerable to creep.

“In practice, this would mean a gas turbine would have a shorter life or less fuel efficiency,” says Zachary Cordero, the Boeing Career Development Professor in Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. “These are costly, undesirable outcomes.”

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Boeing-Built X-37B Completes Sixth Mission, Sets New Endurance Record

The Boeing-built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 5:22 a.m. ET, November 12, 2022.
Photo Credit: Boeing / U.S. Space Force

The Boeing built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) set a new endurance record after spending 908 days in orbit before landing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 5:22 a.m. ET, November 12, 2022. This surpasses its previous record of 780 days on-orbit.

With the successful completion of its sixth mission the reusable spaceplane has now flown over 1.3 billion miles and spent a total of 3,774 days in space where it conducts experiments for government and industry partners with the ability to return them to Earth for evaluation.

For the first time, the vehicle carried a service module to augment the number of payloads it can haul. The module separated from the OTV prior to de-orbiting ensuring a safe and successful landing.

“This mission highlights the Space Force's focus on collaboration in space exploration and expanding low-cost access to space for our partners, within and outside of the Department of the Air Force (DAF),” said Gen. Chance Saltzman, Chief of Space Operations.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Sikorsky And DARPA's Autonomous Black Hawk® Flies Logistics and Rescue Missions Without Pilots on Board

SikorskyOPVBlackHawkYuma2022
Sikorsky demonstrates to the U.S. Army for the first time how an optionally piloted Black Hawk helicopter flying in autonomous mode could resupply forward forces. These uninhabited Black Hawk flights occurred in October at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.
Photo Credit: Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company.

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company (NYSE: LMT) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have successfully demonstrated to the U.S. Army for the first time how an uninhabited Black Hawk helicopter flying autonomously can safely and reliably perform internal and external cargo resupply missions, and a rescue operation.

Performed Oct. 12, 14 and 18 as part of the U.S. Army's Project Convergence 2022 (PC22) experiment, the flights show how existing and future piloted utility helicopters could one day fly complex missions in reduced crew or autonomous mode. This would give Army commanders and aviators greater flexibility in how and when aircraft and pilots are used, especially in limited visibility or contested environments.

Why It Matters

Sikorsky is partnered with DARPA to develop autonomy technology that will exponentially improve the flight safety and efficiency of rotary and fixed-wing aircraft. Sikorsky's autonomy system, known as MATRIX™ technology, forms the core of DARPA's ALIAS (Aircrew Labor In-cockpit Automation System) project.

Monday, October 31, 2022

New Tech Solves Longstanding Challenges for Self-Healing Materials

3D printed thermoplastic on woven-carbon fiber reinforcement.
Credit: North Carolina State University

Engineering researchers have developed a new self-healing composite that allows structures to repair themselves in place, without having to be removed from service. This latest technology resolves two longstanding challenges for self-healing materials, and can significantly extend the lifespan of structural components such as wind-turbine blades and aircraft wings.

“Researchers have developed a variety of self-healing materials, but previous strategies for self-healing composites have faced two practical challenges,” says Jason Patrick, corresponding author of the research paper and an assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at North Carolina State University.

“First, the materials often need to be removed from service in order to heal. For instance, some require heating in an oven, which can’t be done for large components or while a given part is in use. Second, self-healing only works for a limited period. For example, the material might be able to heal a few times, after which its self-repairing properties would significantly diminish. We’ve come up with an approach that addresses both of those challenges in a meaningful way, while retaining the strength and other performance characteristics of structural fiber-composites.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Borrowing a shape from a to-go cup lid, a drone wing could learn how to sense danger faster

Researchers have discovered a new possible use for the dome shape that you would find on a to-go cup lid.
Credit: Pexels/Caleb Oquendo

The oddly satisfying small domes that you press on your soda’s to-go cup lid may one day save a winged drone from a nosedive.

Patterns of these invertible domes on a drone’s wings would give it a way to remember in microseconds what dangerous conditions feel like and react quickly. The study, conducted by researchers at Purdue University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is among the first demonstrations of a metamaterial that uses its shape to learn how to adapt to its surroundings on its own. The paper is published in the journal Advanced Intelligent Systems.

Unlike humans and other living beings, autonomous vehicles lack ways to filter out information they don’t need, which slows their response time to changes in their environment.

“There’s this problem called ‘data drowning.’ Drones cannot use their full flight capability because there is just too much data to process from their sensors, which prevents them from flying safely in certain situations,” said Andres Arrieta, a Purdue associate professor of mechanical engineering with a courtesy appointment in aeronautical and astronautical engineering.

Dome-covered surfaces that can sense their surroundings would be a step toward enabling a drone’s wings to feel only the most necessary sensory information. Because it only takes a certain minimum amount of force to invert a dome, forces below this threshold are automatically filtered out. A specific combination of domes popped up and down at certain parts of the wing, for example, could indicate to the drone’s control system that the wing is experiencing a dangerous pressure pattern. Other dome patterns could signify dangerous temperatures or that an object is approaching, Arrieta said.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

U.S. Air Force Declares Initial Operational Capability of Sikorsky HH-60W Jolly Green II

The HH-60W Jolly Green II
Full Size Image
Credit: Lockheed Martin Corporation

The U.S. Air Force declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the HH-60W Jolly Green II Combat Rescue Helicopter, validating the platform's operational readiness to forward deploy Air Force rescue crews around the globe. Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company (NYSE: LMT) designed and manufactures the HH-60W, which enables the U.S. Air Force to conduct rescue missions at greater ranges and in the most challenging environments, and with increased survivability.

“This declaration is a vote of confidence from U.S. Air Force leadership and demonstrates the critical role of and need for the HH-60W,” said Nathalie Previte, vice president, Sikorsky Army & Air Force Systems. "Sikorsky is committed to continuing deliveries of the Department of Defense’s only dedicated combat search and rescue (CSAR) helicopter and to provide the most capable platform to rescue crews who depend on this aircraft day-in and day-out to conduct vital life-saving missions.”

Monday, October 10, 2022

Sikorsky Continues Progress on RAIDER X® Helicopter for U.S. Army

RAIDER X is 92% complete at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. The design is based on Sikorsky’s X2 technology, which provides unmatched potential and growth.
 Photo courtesy Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company.

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company is completing early tests toward a safe flight test program for the RAIDER X® competitive prototype it is building for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program.

“The RAIDER X prototype, which is 92% complete, draws on Lockheed Martin’s broad expertise in developing innovative weapons systems using the latest digital design and manufacturing techniques. These advancements will enable the Army to not only lower the acquisition cost, but also enable rapid, affordable upgrades to stay ahead of the evolving threat,” said Jay Macklin, director, Sikorsky Future Vertical Lift business development.

There are hundreds of additively manufactured parts installed on RAIDER X, including flight-critical parts. The 3D printing process has been so successful that first articles are 95% compliant, saving the team hundreds of hours compared to previous processes.

Monday, October 3, 2022

U.S. Army Orders Additional Enhanced CH-47F Block II Chinooks

The CH-47F Block II during first flight. The Block II Chinook is powered by cutting-edge technologies — including redesigned fuel tanks, a strengthened fuselage and an enhanced drivetrain.
Resized Image using AI by SFLORG
Photo Credit: Fred Troilo

The U.S. Army is continuing to modernize its heavy-lift helicopter fleet with an order for two more Boeing CH-47F Block II Chinooks and long lead funding for additional aircraft.

“Modernizing the Chinook for our Army customer is a priority,” said Ken Eland, Boeing vice president and H-47 program manager. “CH-47F Block II improves readiness, limits future sustainment costs and provides commonality across the fleet. We're dedicated to making CH-47F Block II the best option for the Army's heavy lift mission, now and well into the future." The CH-47F Block II Chinook is powered by cutting-edge technologies — including redesigned fuel tanks, a strengthened fuselage and an enhanced drivetrain.

Last year, the Army awarded Boeing a $136 million contract for the first four CH-47F Block II aircraft, which began production in April 2022. The Lot 2 order valued at $63 million brings the total number of aircraft under contract to six. The separate Lot 3 advance procurement contract is valued at $29 million

Monday, September 19, 2022

Send in the Drones

The new trailer provides more space for the UAS team to work on perfecting aircrafts for flight.
 Credit: Idaho National Laboratory

Ever since the Wright brothers innovated in the back of their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio, aviation has been, at heart, a nuts-and-bolts endeavor. For all the sophisticated equipment Idaho National Laboratory’s Unmanned Aerial Systems team has at its disposal for testing high-tech cameras, radios and sensors, there is still a lot of gearhead ingenuity involved.

Here, a $500,000 high-tech surveillance camera is kept aloft on an aircraft powered by a 1/2-horsepower gasoline engine adapted from a Honda pressure washer. The launching catapult for the plane is basically an oversized potato gun.

The group operates both in Idaho Falls and at the INL Site from a base that includes a 1,000-foot paved runway, a control trailer and a newly built 1,500-square-foot hangar.

‘Workhorses’

The Department of Energy complex has noted INL’s strength in testing unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs (better known as drones). Over 20 years, the lab has developed capabilities to test new platforms and evaluate technology not only for DOE but also the Department of Defense and private industry. With 890 square miles of open high-altitude desert, a secure border, and a sophisticated wireless test bed, the INL Site has proven to be a great place for testing unmanned aerial vehicles against real-world conditions like severe weather, temperature swings and day/night operations.

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