Miniature Air Launched Rawinsonde and Dropsonde (MALRD)
Department of Defense
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998 N. Eglin Parkway, Shalimar, FL, 32579
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AbstractABSTRACT: The main objective of the MALRD SBIR Phase II research is to develop design alternatives to collect atmospheric data using a novel concept whereby a F-16 fighter aircraft equipped with a ALE-47 countermeasure dispenser system (CMDS) may alternatively serve as an air-launched instrumentation-dispense platform. Specific atmospheric data will be collected by the dropsonde sensors including pressure, temperature, humidity, and GPS-derived wind vectors. This atmospheric data set is usually denoted as PTU+winds in technical literature. The F-16 dispense conditions for Phase II are 45,000 feet altitude and 0.9 Mach airspeed. During the MALRD Phase I effort, we successfully demonstrated two static firings of the MALRD dropsonde design in the MJU-7 flare-canister configuration. Successful operation of all key functions including GPS, datalink, ARM processor, and support electronics start-up operations and parachute deployment and initial flight were demonstrated in the launches. The successful demonstration of two back-to-back dropsonde static firings provided a solid foundation for proceeding on to a Phase II development of a pre-production prototype. While the static firing demonstrated miniaturized dropsonde operations, the stressing dispense envelop posed by the expanded Phase II requirements mandate a complete reassessment of the Phase II baseline design. BENEFIT: The weather and flight test communities actively use dropsondes to measure pressure, temperature, humidity and winds data as it descends from an in-flight dispense point to the ground surface. The dropsondes transmits this data to a ground station equipped with a transceiver and computer processing equipment. These dropsondes are typically launched by hand through an opening or via a specially designed launch tube. The opportunity exists to air-launch miniature dropsondes from the existing on F-16 aircraft equipped with the ALE-47 countermeasure dispenser systems (CMDS). The launch envelop will be expanded to release conditions up to 45,000 feet and 0.9 Mach. Given the miniaturization and ruggedization of the core MALRD dropsonde circuit card assembly and associated sensors, commercialization and rapid market absorption will be driven by the low unit production costs gained by high production rates of the MALRD dropsonde core engine. A pre-production prototype will be developed in this Phase II effort.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.