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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Inflatable Wing Morphing Aircraft Aeroservoelastic Control and Design Demonstration, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The role of UASs in the DoD has been continuously growing and is expected to show much higher growth rates in operations in the near future. A pressing need for such platforms is the need to be able to satisfy multiple mission objectives, without "compromising" on efficiency. This need is further exacerbated by increasing fuel prices, that dictates higher aerodynamic efficiencies across the complete mission. Variable geometry aircraft, inspired by biological examples of high efficiency, are a natural choice for achieving this goal. This has become a particularly lucrative option with advances in smart materials and structures. However, there is much to be done in terms of actuation development and stable robust control to make such a concept practically feasible. To address this need, Intelligent Automation proposes an inflatable morphing wing aircraft concept based on pneumatic actuation mechanism to achieve several types of morphing. We also propose to develop novel adaptive control techniques that are provably stable in spite of transitions and aeroservoelastic interactions. These will be developed and demonstrated in flight tests to assure credibility of propose approach and enable rapid transition. More »

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