Aerospace Systems

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Aerospace Systems: Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio - The Aerospace Systems Directorate brings together world-class facilities including a fuels research facility, structural testing labs, compressor research facility, rocket testing facilities, supersonic and subsonic wind tunnels, flight simulation lab, and many other cutting-edge research labs.  Among the technologies in development in the Aerospace Systems Directorate are turbine engines, scramjet engines, alternative fuels, unmanned vehicles, hypersonic vehicles, collision avoidance and aircraft energy optimization.

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AFRL Examines Renewable Fuel Sources

As part of this collaborative endeavor AFRL has examined a broad range of feedstock sources for their respective fuel production viability and ultimate cost-competitiveness with petroleum fuels.

AFRL Steps Up Vital Role in Incident Investigations

Computer simulations are often the best -- and sometimes the only -- way to piece together complexities of aircraft incidents, allowing investigators to virtually recreate events that are impossible to stage in a real-life scenario.

AFRL/Boeing Pursue Cooperative UAS Control

AFRL and Boeing are teaming for Foxhunt, an advanced research program geared towards establishing cooperative use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), which are presently controlled on an individual basis from a ground control station. Foxhunt will enable an operator not only to control teams of UAS platforms but to do so from an airborne platform.

Fuels Research Flock to Aquatic Feedstock

A diverse effort involving lab funding and University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez research is exploring algae dewatering and oil-extraction efficiency to enhance the feasibility of jet fuels derived from this renewable feedstock.

HBCU Research Nets Double-or-Nothing Heat Transfer

Addressing major challenges related to the high-heat-flux thermal management of current and future airborne tactical platforms (especially directed energy weapons), researchers funded through AFRL's Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) program developed novel surface-enhancement technologies that effectively double the evaporative heat transfer coefficient. Specifically, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical (NCAT) State University's Professor John Kizito and University of Central Florida's Professor Louis Chow led a team of a dozen students in investigating--and successfully demonstrating--the effects of microstructured surfaces on spray-cooling heat transfer.

I am AFRL, Dr. Jim Gord

We shoot laser beams into jet engines, which sounds like an awful lot of fun, and the motivation for that is....

I am AFRL, John B Schroeder

...My father was WWII, my son was in the last Iraq war, I was in Vietnam. Why I do what I do is that I have a debt to the people who fixed airplanes. The people who fixed airplanes kept me alive...

ICE-T Success Quenches Need for Advanced Unmanned Capability

As part of the Intelligent Control and Evaluation of Teams (ICE-T) project, AFRL researchers demonstrated the integrated use of coordinated unmanned air vehicles (UAV), an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), and a ground control station and thereby made substantial headway in the advancement of UAV technology development.

Interturbine Burners Ignite Quest for Fuel-Efficient Engines

The successful demonstration of Small Business innovation Research (SBIR)-enabled interturbine burners (ITB) in an FJ44-3 engine- furthers the ITB technology's viability of gas turbines for a variety of military systems, including manned and unmanned aircraft and missiles. Specifically, ITBs increase fuel efficiency via adjustments to thermodynamic cycle and optimization of the main combustor's capacity for partial-power operation.

Laser-Induced Ignition Eliminates Need for Spark Plug

AFRL researchers successfully demonstrated resonant laser-induced ignition of a propane-air flow mixture, a concept in an aircraft combustor that would eliminate the protruding spark plug.

Lightweight Megawatt Generator Comes Through in Demonstration

The Air Force Research Laboratory and Small Business Innovation research (SBIR) Phase III industry partner Electrodynamics Associates, Inc. demonstrated a multi-megawatt, high speed (15,000 rpm) generator to 25 members of industry and the Department of Defense.

Multiobjective Optimization Betters Propulsion Design

Optimally performing propulsion systems require that the competing needs (i.e., individual design parameters) of various components be considered holistically--enter AFRL research partner Prairie View A&M University (PVA&MU) and its successful demonstration of a solution that does just that.

Navigating the Realm of Automated Aerial Refueling

Moving another step closer in the direction of expanded Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) capabilities, AFRL completed the Precision RelNav Open-Loop Flight Test (PROFT) for the Automated Aerial Refueling Test (AAR) program, the purpose of which is to develop technology for boom and receptacle refueling of RPA systems, as demonstrated via the existing Air Force tanker fleet.

Research Quenches Need for Mixed-Dimensional Coil Modeling

A diverse effort involving lab funding and Florida A&M University research produced a hybrid finite element model for analyzing quench dynamics in superconducting coils.

STEM Puts Students in the Driver's "SEAT"

A cross-directorate collaboration of scientist and engineers (S&E) is engaging with Dayton, Ohio, high school students as part of a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) endeavor managed by Noble Solutions and sponsored by AFRL. As the program name implies, STEM seeks to stimulate student interest in relevant subjects by involving them in real-world fundamental research.

Singular Setup Joins Wings—and Future UAVs—to Aerodynamic Efficiency

In completing key wind tunnel tests of a new unmanned air vehicle (UAV) design known as the Joint-Wing SensorCraft, AFRL engineers are a step closer to establishing the novel configuration as a cutting-edge foundation for the next generation of unmanned capabilities.

WOW Technologies, Computational Fluid Dynamics

Computational sciences is the ability to visualize rather complex phenomena by using supercomputers and complex mathematics and algorithms but at the end being able to actually see what's going on in a problem of interest to the Air Force.