Turret Integration Techniques for Transonic and Supersonic Flight Applications
ABSTRACT: MZA partnered with Kratos/DFI proposes development, optimization, subscale wind tunnel testing/validation, and target engagement simulations for an aircraft pod with forward and aft-looking laser beam directors employing integrated flow control. Using CFD simulations, we will consider both unsteady forces as well as wake properties when flow control is included on the aft section of the pod. We will validate the predictions of our flow control modeling in a subscale wind tunnel test conducted in the Trisonic Gasdynamic Facility (TGF.) We will make measurements of unsteady pressure/forces on the pod and collect diagnostics on the wake flow. These diagnostics will be compared to CFD predictions for a full-scale system, and for the subscale system as tested in the TGF. We will design a beam control solution which handles laser propagation through the pod to either the forward or aft-looking turret. We will conduct FEM analysis with unsteady CFD forces to quantify aero-mechanical jitter and higher-order aberrations in the optical system. Our CFD/FEM/wave-optics simulation software framework will be enhanced. Our simulations will demonstrate how aft flow control will improve overall system effectiveness. Dr. Matthew Whiteley will be Principal Investigator for MZA and Dr. William Coirier will be lead for Kratos/DFI. BENEFIT: Integration of laser projection turrets onto transonic and hypersonic airframes presents a new and challenging environment for laser directed energy weapons. Integration approaches used previously for laser weapons have generally involved substantial changes to the airframe and internal payload of the aircraft. The laser pod being developed in the proposed effort allows for a self-contained modular system which may be mated with multiple aircraft platforms when needed to perform certain missions. The laser pod has beam directors forward and aft, thus opening up the field-of-regard for the laser weapon. In Phase II we are developing a flow control solution which will improve the quality of laser propagation and beam control from the laser pod aft beam director. Flow control will also improve the wake characteristics of the pod to avoid interference with the aircraft itself. Performance improvement with flow control will be quantified with high-fidelity modeling and validated against subscale testing, providing an attractive technology readiness level (TRL) for larger system integrators looking for innovative solutions for use in future aircraft laser weapon system modules. The flow control technology developed here can also be adapted for modification of existing aircraft pods which find ubiquitous applications in aircraft armament and sensors.
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MZA Associates Corporation
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