, 2023-01-18 21:05:40,
WASHINGTON — The Defense Department’s far future research agency has awarded Aurora Flight Sciences a Phase 2 contract for detailed design of a highly aerodynamic demonstration plane with fewer moving parts and a sleeker construction than current military jets.
The “X plane” is part of the Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors (CRANE) program, the goal of which is to pioneer the use of active flow control (AFC) techniques, the Defense Advanced Research Program Agency (DARPA) explained in its award announcement Tuesday.
Today’s aircraft normally use passive systems, such as chevrons and aircraft shape, to manage air flow and aerodynamic performance. AFC, on the other hand, regulates the aircraft’s aerodynamic flow field through mechanical actuators, or by ejection or suction systems built into on various parts — all under the control of an operator.
“The AFC suite of technologies enables multiple opportunities for aircraft performance improvements, such as elimination of moving control surfaces, drag reduction and high angle of attack flight, thicker wings for structural efficiency and increased fuel capacity, and simplified high-lift systems,” the announcement said.
DARPA’s CRANE website adds that AFC “could improve aircraft performance by removing…
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