Tag Archives: Design

Airforce Life Cycle Management Center helps design transport isolation system

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) is playing a unique role in the United States’ comprehensive Ebola response efforts in West Africa through the center’s involvement in developing a transport isolation system.

The system will enable safe aeromedical evacuation of Department of Defense patients in C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster IIIs.

The Human Systems Division — one of nine divisions within AFLCMC’s Agile Combat Support Directorate — is leading the integration of multiple System Program Offices to support the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s task to rapidly field the transport isolation system (TIS) by January.

Lt. Col. Scott Bergren, the chief of the Aircrew Performance Branch, is among those involved in the project.

“AFLCMC was notified the third week of October that its help was needed,” Bergren said. “We also were informed that the intent was to fly this system in an operational test beginning Dec. 1. So we were given a month and a half to ensure this system is safe to fly. All involved offices within AFLCMC have rallied to help get the TIS out the door.

“While DTRA is providing overall program management and contracting actions, our efforts have focused on quickly collecting the test data needed to assess the safety of the system for use in identified aircraft,” Bergren continued. “For example, we reached out to the Navy and obtained existing test data for subcomponents of the TIS used in Navy weapon systems today. This prevented us from having to redo those tests, which saved time. Fortunately, we have those connections and our division possesses the capability to analyze test data and certify components already in use within DOD.

“We’re thinking differently and more creatively to ensure we keep pace with the Pentagon’s timeline for this isolation system,” Bergren added. “We want to ensure this project is completed on time and safely.”

An example of creative thinking is that the AFLCMC team identified a proven LED lighting system used in the KC-135 Stratotanker platform today as a means to provide medical lighting in the TIS.

“This avoided a development effort by the contractor and cut roughly two weeks from a schedule in which every day counts,” Bergren said.

According to Melina Baez-Bowersox, a technical lead engineer in the Aeromedical Branch, additional challenges arise anytime there is a proposal to add a new system or equipment to an Air Force platform, such as an aircraft.

“Part of our responsibility is to assess the TIS’s capability by testing and evaluating the system on the aircraft,” she said. “We ask ourselves, ‘How does it (TIS) behave?’, ‘What does adding the system do to the structural integrity of the aircraft?’, ‘Is the TIS safe for patients, aircrews and the aircraft?’

“Ultimately, we want to be able to safely transport infected individuals back to the United States in a way that contains Ebola exposure to others while also preventing contamination of an aircraft or losing a precious Air Force asset,” she continued.

“We’re the right organization to be involved to deliver this critical capability that is quite complex and under an extremely compressed timeline,” said Col. William McGuffey, the chief of the Human Systems Division. “It’s another example of how AFLCMC acquires, fields and sustains systems and capabilities to support the urgent needs of other Air Force major commands and the DOD.

Pentagon officials say they do not expect the 3,000 U.S. troops heading to or already in the region to need the TIS because military personnel will not be treating Ebola patients directly.

“But we want to be prepared to care for the people we do have there just out of an abundance of caution,” Defense Department spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea said.

Currently, transport of Ebola patients from overseas is done by Phoenix Air, a government contractor based in Georgia whose modified business jet is capable of carrying just a single patient.

The Pentagon’s TIS will be similar but larger than the units used by Phoenix Air, whose containment system is a tent-like structure held up by a metal framework within the aircraft.

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USAF Tests, Will Soon Fly, Flapless Wing Design

A feature of aircraft design unchanged for nearly a century may have been twisted into a new shape as a result of a revolutionary new structure being tested in the Mojave Desert.

A specially modified Gulfstream III jet successfully took to the skies over NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center Nov. 6 using shape changing wings rather than the standard wing flaps.

The seamless, bendable and twistable surfaces promise to improve aerodynamic efficiency and reduce noise generated during takeoffs and landings.

The Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge, or ACTE, program is an Air Force Research Laboratory project using flaps designed and built by FlexSys, Inc., of Ann Arbor, Mich. The effort is partnered with NASA’s Environmentally Responsible Aviation project for exploring the feasibility, benefits and technical risks of enabling technologies and vehicle concepts that will reduce aviation’s impact on the environment.

“We’re thrilled this first flight has been a major success and we’re hopeful that further testing will bear out our theories for the potential benefits for this technology,” said Pete Flick, AFRL program manager.

He noted that successful completion of ACTE flight research will cap nearly 20 years of collaboration between AFRL and FlexSys.

With AFRL funding through the Air Force’s Small Business Innovative Research program, FlexSys developed a variable geometry airfoil system called FlexFoil™ that can be retrofitted to existing airplane wings or integrated into brand new airframes. FlexFoil’s inventor, FlexSys founder and CEO Sridhar Kota hopes testing with the modified G-III will confirm the design’s flight-worthiness and open doors to future applications and commercialization.

“Twenty years ago when I approached AFRL with this method, they had the vision to recognize the merit of our design and they have funded us through SBIR Phase 2 and 3 all the way to this flight test. FlexSys replaced the primary trailing edge wing flaps on a Gulfstream III business jet with 18-foot span-wise FlexFoil™ aircraft control surfaces on each wing, including 2-foot wide compliant fairings at each end to eliminate noise-generating gaps in the airframe. With these, it is intended that they’ll be able to alter the wing’s camber, or cross-section, seamlessly on demand to maximize performance throughout the whole flight. The aeronautics community has been trying to accomplish this for almost 40 years,” Kota said.

“This technology can be applied to all kinds of surfaces moving through a fluid medium such as airplane wings, engine inlets, helicopter rotors, and wind turbines, as well as specialized components for automobiles, boats, and submarines,” said Kota, who is also a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan.

The technology looks to solve a problem that has long faced aircraft designers. Wing flaps that tilt and separate from the wing introduce gaps that produce unwanted drag and a lot of aerodynamic noise, according to Kota. Conventional flaps are also unable to make the fine adjustments necessary at certain phases of flight or when flight conditions are less than optimal.

The FlexFoil structure eliminates these gaps offering potential noise reduction and fuel savings as well as enhanced stability in flight.

“We have progressed from an innovative idea, and matured the concept through multiple designs and wind tunnel tests, to a final demonstration that should prove to the aerospace industry that this technology is ready to dramatically improve aircraft efficiency,” Flick said. “This is a very exciting time for this program.”

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Novel Rocket Design Flight Tested

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists recently flight tested a new rocket design that includes a high-energy fuel and a motor design that also delivers a high degree of safety.

“What we’re trying to do is break the performance versus sensitivity curve, and make a rocket that’s both very high-energy, as well as very safe,” said Bryce Tappan, an energetic materials chemist at the Laboratory.

“Typically, when you look at a propellant that’s high-performance, it’s not as safe a material.” See the flight tests and hear how Tappan and his research partners at New Mexico Tech and Penn State accomplished a fully successful flight in a new video on the Laboratory’s YouTube Channel.

Conventional solid-fuel rocket motors work by combining a fuel and an oxidizer, a material usually rich in oxygen, to enhance the burning of the fuel. In higher-energy fuels this mixture can be somewhat unstable, and can contain sensitive high explosives that can detonate under high shock loads, high temperatures, or other conditions.

The new rocket fuel and motor design adds a higher degree of safety by separating the fuel from the oxidizer, both novel formulations that are, by themselves, not able to detonate.

“Because the fuel is physically separated from the oxidizer,” said Tappan, “you can utilize higher-energy propellants.”

After years of development and bench-top static tests, the new rocket design was recently flight tested at the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center’s Socorro launch site, part of New Mexico Tech. The new rocket design was tested against conventional, high-energy commercial rockets to enable a comparison of data gathered on velocity, altitude, burn rate, and other parameters.

“You don’t have to do much more than a few seconds of YouTube searching to find numerous failed rocket tests,” said Tappan. “So, I had that worry in the back of my mind. But once we saw that successful launch go off, it was the culmination of a lot of years of research, it was very satisfying to see it fly.”

Researchers will now work to scale-up the design, as well as explore miniaturization of the system, in order to exploit all potential applications that would require high-energy, high-velocity, and correspondingly high safety margins.

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US military awards contracts to design reusable spaceplane

By on Thursday, July 17th, 2014

The U.S. military said Tuesday it has awarded contracts to three companies to design an experimental spaceplane conceived as a reusable, unmanned booster with costs, operation and reliability similar to modern aircraft.

The companies selected to develop the XS-1 spaceplane are Boeing, working with Blue Origin; Masten Space Systems, working with XCOR Aerospace; and Northrop Grumman, working with Virgin Galactic, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) said in a statement.

“We chose performers who could prudently integrate existing and up-and-coming technologies and operations, while making XS-1 as reliable, easy-to-use and cost-effective as possible,” said Jess Sponable, DARPA’s spaceplane program manager. “We’re eager to see how their initial designs envision making spaceflight commonplace – – with all the potential military, civilian and commercial benefits that capability would provide.”

The XS-1 program aims to develop a fully-reusable unmanned vehicle that would provide aircraft-like access to space and deploy small satellites to orbit faster and more affordably using expendable upper stages.

According to the DARPA, the XS-1′s first stage will fly to a suborbital altitude at hypersonic speeds and then return to earth, land and be prepared for the next flight. One or more expendable upper stages will separate and deploy a satellite into low-Earth orbit.

Key XS-1 technical goals include flying 10 times in 10 days, flying to Mach 10+ at least once and launching 3,000- to 5,000- pound (1,361 to 2,268 kilograms) payloads to orbit for less than 5 million U.S. dollars per flight.

In Phase 1 of XS-1, the selected companies will develop a demonstration vehicle, conduct critical risk reduction of core component technologies and processes, and develop a technology maturation plan for a flight test of XS-1 system capabilities. The agency will hold a Phase 2 competition next year for the follow-on production order to build the vehicle and conduct demonstration flights.

Boeing said in a separate statement that the company’s preliminary XS-1 design contract is worth 4 million U.S. dollars and that it will focus its work on the XS-1′s reusable first stage.

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OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Mission Passes Important Design Review

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx program has successfully completed a comprehensive technical review of the mission and has been given approval to begin building the spacecraft, flight instruments and ground system. Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] is responsible for development of the spacecraft, which will be the first U.S. mission sent to a near-Earth asteroid to collect and return samples.

This major milestone was achieved after a successful mission critical design review (CDR) for the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission. The review was performed by an independent review board, comprised of experts from NASA and several external organizations, that validated the detailed design of the spacecraft, instruments and ground system.

“Passing CDR is a significant milestone in our program,” said Rich Kuhns, program manager at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. “We have now completed the spacecraft design and are transitioning into fabrication as we prepare for the assembly, test and launch operations phase of the mission.”

OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2016, rendezvous with the asteroid Bennu in 2018 and spend a year of reconnaissance at the asteroid, before collecting a sample of at least 2 ounces (60 grams) and returning it to Earth for scientists to study in 2023.

“The OSIRIS-REx team has consistently demonstrated its ability to present a comprehensive mission design that meets all requirements within the resources provided by NASA,” said principal investigator Dante Lauretta, from the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. “Mission CDR was no exception. This is a great team. I know we will build a flight and ground system that is up to the challenges of this ambitious mission.”

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center will provide overall mission management, systems engineering, and safety and mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. The University of Arizona leads the effort and provides the camera system and science processing and operations center. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver will build the spacecraft, the sampling and Earth-return system, and perform spacecraft mission operations. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed by the Marshall Spaceflight Center.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 115,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

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ROKAF Backs Twin-Engine Design for Indigenous Fighter

21 Februari 2014

KFX C-103 twin engine (photo : kappa352)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — The Air Force has officially expressed its support for a twin-engine concept for the country’s indigenous fighter jet development program, saying the design would allow for improved combat capabilities and long-term economic feasibility, officials said Friday.

The move comes amid disagreement over the engine choice for the long-delayed 20 trillion won (US$18.6 billion) project to develop and build some 120 units of F-16 class aircraft to replace the aging fleet of F-4s and F-5s.

The Defense Acquisition Program Administration is set to open the bidding process for the fighter project so-called KFX in April, with the goal of reaching an agreement with the preferred bidder by November.

While the specific concept and design have not been confirmed yet, pilots and the potential developer have revealed disagreements over the engine.

During the first meeting of the task force on Tuesday, the Air Force officials delivered an official position in support of a two-engine C-103 concept to improve the aircraft’s combat capabilities and long-term economic feasibility, according to a senior Air Force official.

The Korea Aerospace Industries, South Korea’s sole aircraft maker and a potential bidder in KFX, has been pushing for the C-501 design, borrowed from T-50 trainer jet that was jointly developed by U.S. aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.

The defense ministry and procurement agency have also shown interest in the single-engine C-510 type to reduce risk of developing a clean sheet design and improve marketability overseas.

These new jets will have a similar level of maneuverability to the current fleet of planes but will be equipped with more advanced radars and other devices.

Based on the progress in aerospace, ground and naval equipment in the last decade, Seoul has sought to design its own fighter jets to help advance its aerospace industry and add indigenous weapons to Korean-designed aircraft.

However, some industry experts and economists questioned the feasibility of the massive project and potential for the future market for the fourth-generation fighters.


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BAE Systems HAMMER Solution Passes Design Review

By on Friday, February 21st, 2014

BAE Systems’ HAMMER precision targeting system successfully completed the U.S. Army’s Critical Design Review for its Joint Effects Targeting System (JETS) Target Location Designation System (TLDS) program. This review of the system’s design and capability is a key milestone as the company works toward providing dismounted soldiers and operators with a lightweight and cost-effective solution.

“Precise man-portable targeting is a mission-critical capability for our dismounted soldiers,” said Dr. Mark Hutchins, director of Targeting Programs at BAE Systems. “Our HAMMER solution will provide forward observers and joint terminal attack controllers with the lightweight, compact, and highly advanced system they need to be successful.”

JETS is an Army-led, joint-interest program with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps aimed at developing and fielding a man-portable targeting system that provides our armed forces with the ability to acquire, identify, precisely locate, and mark targets in all lighting and weather conditions.

In March 2013, BAE Systems was awarded a contract to support the JETS program with the company’s Handheld Azimuth Measuring, Marking, Electro-optic imaging, and Ranging (HAMMER) precision targeting system. BAE Systems’ offering is less than one-half the weight and cost of the targeting systems currently in the Department of Defense inventory.

When fielded as part of the JETS program, the HAMMER system will help soldiers distinguish friends from foes with satellite positioning and surveillance information, and allow them to rapidly receive, transmit, and coordinate targeting data. Leveraging these capabilities, the system will support the complex missions of today’s warfighter while significantly reducing collateral damage and friendly fire incidents.

Following completion of this design phase, BAE Systems will begin the program’s qualification phase in which several HAMMER systems will be manufactured and tested against JETS technical requirements throughout 2014 and early 2015. The program remains on schedule for initial JETS TLDS fielding in 2016.

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