Solid-State Morphing Flight Control for Micro Air Weapons
AVID has identified and demonstrated significant advantages of smart material aerodynamic actuators for micro air vehicles. The solid-state nature of this flight control actuation scheme allows for scalability to miniature sizes, as well as increases in overall reliability. The general approach to morphing flight control surfaces has been proven through the Phase I results. Aerodynamic predictions based on the experimental deflections have shown superior operation in every aerodynamic performance metric when compared to a servo-driven flapped airfoil design. Bench-top and wind-tunnel experiments show that the technology has the structural strength to support the operational loads, and the actuators can be produced at a reasonable cost. The objective of this project is to advance the smart material actuator system to the point where it can be demonstrated on a representative platform at a size, weight and power that will eliminate those questions as barriers to implementation on current and future micro air weapons and vehicles. BENEFIT: The proposed new flight control actuation technology can improve micro-UAVs by eliminating servos, linkages, and moving parts from the micro-air-vehicle. Servos are frequently identified as low reliability and problematic in the field; thus their removal can substantially increase performance and reliability while reducing size, weight and power. The ultimate goal is a solid-state aircraft with no servos, and airframes and control devices that can be stored for long periods of time with high probability of deployment success. The ability to apply this new technology to various air vehicle designs of scales is a key benefit. While the technology developed could be the basis for new vehicle designs, further benefit could be realized through integration with existing micro air vehicles; by re-adapting or re-using current MAV technology. Because this technology has the potential to scale to a variety of sizes, specifically to down to micro or nano scales, the U.S. Air Force, as well as other branches of the U.S. armed forces, could benefit from this UAV solution that does not sacrifice performance. Micro or nano scale UAV technology that enables a MAV to navigate tight city streets could be of potential use to Home Land Security and local law enforcement agencies as well. Additionally, at the conclusion of this effort, we expect to have a validated set of design tools, smart material concepts, fabrication techniques and control electronics designs that our partners Boeing and Honeywell are interested in applying to their systems.
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