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Embedded Sensors for Flight Test (Every Aircraft a Test Aircraft)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9550-15-C-0015
Agency Tracking Number: F14A-T01-0066
Amount: $149,911.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF14-AT01
Solicitation Number: 2014.1
Solicitation Year: 2014
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2014-11-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2015-08-15
Small Business Information
2780 Skypark Drive Suite 400
Torrance, CA 90505
United States
DUNS: 000000000
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 Dana Howard
 (310) 626-8652
Business Contact
 Zoltan Feher
Phone: (310) 626-8384
Research Institution
 Sandia National Laboratories
 Dan Fleming
PO Box 5800, MS 1069
Albuquerque, NM 87185
United States

 (505) 845-7829
 Nonprofit College or University

ABSTRACT: Two accelerating trends in military aircraft design and development are apparent: (1) increasing system capabilities in terms of weapon systems, ISR payloads, guidance, navigation and control (GNC), etc., enabled by ever-smaller and evermore capable electronics; and (2) reduction in overall size and available space for auxiliary equipment (and associated wiring, etc.) to measure and assess performance during test and evaluation. In view of this, there is a need to develop (structurally) integrated sensing and data collection/transmission systems which can take advantage of the large area of the aircraft skin and internal structure. Building on NextGens wind tunnel and flight test model development, Sandias work on MEMS sensors, and Newtons experience in additive manufacturing we will develop concepts and techniques to integrate sensing, power, data storage, and communication capabilities in aircraft structures to significantly enhance flight and wind tunnel testing. We will focus on high-density, low form factor, low power sensor arrays for measuring dynamic pressures, strains and temperature. During the Phase I effort we will design, fabricate and test a proof-of-concept structure with integrated sensors, and wireless data transfer capabilities meeting requirements which can be traced to flight test aircraft and wind tunnel model test and evaluation requirements. BENEFIT: The NextGen Team will leverage Sandias work on MEMS pressure transducers, and NextGen patented strain sensors arrays and sensor packages to develop and validate low-cost, high-fidelity, low form factor sensors during the proposed effort. These small sensors can then be arrayed onto an applique in varying densities to provide a flight test vehicle or wind tunnel model with a distributed sensing network during testing. These compact sensing systems are especially useful considering the continued emphasis on miniaturized vehicles and components. These small systems must still be tested and validated before deployment. The teams expertise in additive manufacturing and NextGen expertise in design, manufacture, and testing of high-fidelity flexible wind tunnel models will ensure development of viable concepts and techniques by end of Phase I. The developed concepts will be directly applicable to wind tunnel testing, and will lead to design of a drop-in replacement panel for flight test vehicles, where a standard skin panel is replaced with a similar panel containing a suite of embedded sensors, geared towards the desired test regime.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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