Turret Integration Techniques for Transonic and Supersonic Flight Applications

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
MZA Associates Corporation
2021 Girard SE, Suite 150, Albuquerque, NM, -
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator
 Matthew Whiteley
 Vice President, Senior Scientist
 (937) 684-4100
Business Contact
 Robert Praus II
Title: President
Phone: (505) 245-9970
Email: praus@mza.com
Research Institution
MZA Associates Corporation, partnered with Kratos Digital Fusion, Inc. proposes the development of a comprehensive methodology for design, optimization, modeling, testing, and analysis of laser turrets integrated onto transonic and supersonic airframes. We will identify turret and flow control alternative configurations and consider them parametrically for the intended flight regimes, advancing the promising options to higher fidelity modeling. We will use computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling of the turret configurations, considering both aero-mechanical and aero-optical properties of the flow and how these change with increasing Mach number and when flow-control modifications are included. From the CFD modeling we will conduct comprehensive beam control analysis considering jitter disturbances on optics and the influence of adaptive optics compensation, thereby quantifying the residual disturbance environment for laser operation, and potential synergies for flow control and beam control technologies. To facilitate future seamless integration of aerodynamic modeling and beam propagation modeling, we will develop a software design for incorporating an aero-optics propagator into WaveTrain models, allowing direct simulation of the full effects of aerodynamic disturbances on a tactical laser weapon system. 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 is a new and challenging environment for laser directed energy weapons. Using the techniques developed in this program, a weapon system designer will be able to reliably assess the disturbance conditions which will be experienced during flight given the planned configuration on the aircraft. The simulation methods developed here bring together validated aerodynamics, opto-mechanics, and wave-optical modeling methods to provide realistic simulation of the aircraft turret in the design phase. Using these tools, a weapons engineer can identify potential barriers to laser operation on an airframe in flight regimes and for aircraft configurations that may be difficult or too costly to test. In addition to laser projection from aircraft, optical and opto-mechanical issues for turret-based sensor systems on aircraft can be evaluated. Aircraft-based surveillance and reconnaissance systems could be simulated and imaging resolution capability quantified. Design options for sensor systems on aircraft platforms can be thoroughly addressed, avoiding costly flaws which may hinder operations of a fielded system. Aircraft design companies could use these techniques to quickly prototype solutions for active or passive sensing, especially on UAV platforms, providing a competitive advantage for this growing market.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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