A Low Cost Modular Approach to Flight Testing of Hypersonic Systems
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
ABSTRACT: Airbreathing hypersonic weapon systems utilizing ramjet/scramjet and/or combined cycle engines will open the door to many new capabilities for the warfighter. Applications include systems ranging from small tactical hypersonic missiles, hypersonic intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, to upper stages for responsive space access launch vehicles. ACENT Laboratories and teammates ATK, AMA and Kratos Rocket Support Services have a strong history in the area of hypersonic airbreathing flight testing and propose to continue the development a Low Cost Modular Approach to Flight Testing of Hypersonic Systems. The proposed Phase II effort includes technology demonstrations in several key areas deemed enabling to the reduction of cost and schedule of hypersonic sounding-rocket based flight projects. These include modular/parametric airframe design and rapid manufacture using investment casting, small form-factor electro-hydraulic actuators for control surfaces, and the use of 3D printing technology to simplify packaging of complex highly instrumented payload components. Risk reduction testing will be carried out to mature these technologies in preparation for flight testing in Phase III. BENEFIT: The saleable product resulting from this research will be a low cost marketable test and evaluation capability not readily available for ramjet/scramjet powered vehicles. The traditional approach to full-scale hypersonic engine development often begins with subscale component development ground tests leading to full-scale engine ground testing prior to full-scale flight-testing. Moving from subscale to full-scale or ground to flight both incur significant costs. Our modular low cost flight test technique will permit developers of hypersonic propulsion systems to flight test their vehicle and/or engine in sub-scale early in the developmental cycle to assess thrust and operability performance among other things. In a synergistic application with computational simulations and ground testing, this crucial flight data will provide a clear path to full-scale flight testing and development with reduced risk and cost. In addition, our modular system could allow testing at more than one scale by moving up in booster class to determine any scale effects early in the program. Our primary target market for this test capability product is the developmental programs for hypersonic airbreathing propulsion systems that have recently started or will be starting. Expansion of the applicability of the technology beyond hypersonic airbreathing propulsion is a natural extension of this effort. Many technical areas including aerodynamic decelerators, re-entry vehicles, and other non-propulsion fields will benefit from the results of this modular design architecture and these customers will be actively pursued.
Small Business Information at Submission:
ACENT Laboratories LLC
3 Scott Lane Manorville, NY 11949
Number of Employees: