Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Faster Target Drones

Transonic jets are not easy targets and valuable training and experience can be gained by using faster drone aircraft as targets during training. 

Transonic & supersonic jets make very expensive drones. One solution is to use outdated airplanes as targets.  However, retrofitting these airplanes with new equipment can be equally expensive especially in light of their inevitable fate.

A cost reducing solution is to modify existing target UAVs so they can efficiently fly at higher Mach numbers with relatively inexpensive propulsion systems.  This requires drag reducing techniques at the regime of flight in the neighborhood of the drag divergence Mach number aka Mdd.

Stallion 3D Simulation of UAV at M=0.95

Drones designed for subsonic flight look and behave differently than those designed for supersonic flight.  A proven method for increasing the Mdd is to sweep back the main wings.  However, if an existing UAV is redesigned with a swept wing, the stability and flight characteristics of the aircraft will change and the cost of the modifications can increase.  

Stallion 3D was used for a quick design study with  four  different Mach numbers near Mdd and two similar UAVs to test the concept of airfoil modification as apposed to sweep to improve the aircraft performance at high transonic Mach numbers.  

Grid generation for the aircraft was automatic and the total set of calculations (8 separate cases) was completed in under 12 hours on a 4-core laptop computer running Windows 7.

Existing UAV System with Modified Airfoil at Mach number of 0.7, 0.8, 0.9 & 0.95.

Existing UAV System with Modified Wing Sweep at Mach numbers of 0.7, 0.8, 0.9 & 0.95.

Drag Divergence for Modified UAVs

The studies show that as far as Mdd is concerned,  a cost effective airfoil modification option can be used to increase the efficiency of a drone aircraft near Mdd and it can be effective as swept wings.  In addition, this aircraft can also be more efficient at lower speeds.

This is an example of valuable information than can be quickly obtained due to the unique algorithm contained in Stallion 3D.  The software can be used to compute lift, drag, moments and stability derivatives for your unique aircraft shape at subsonic, transonic and supersonic speeds.  Grid generation is automatic and the setup of a complete aircraft configuration can take less than one minute.

How would you use Stallion 3D to quickly solve your  aircraft modification problems?

For more information, please visit http://www.hanleyinnovation.com/ or call us at (352) 240-3658.

 Please visit http://www.hanleyinnovations.com/stallion3d.html for more information about Stallion 3D.  

Thanks for reading. 

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