AFRL/NASA Shaped Sonic Boom Experiment Flight Test Program. Delivery Order 0021: Origins and Overview of the Shaped Sonic Boom Demonstration Program
NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORP EL SEGUNDO CA INTEGRATED SYSTEMS
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The goal of the DARPA Shaped Sonic Boom Demonstration SSBD Program was to demonstrate for the first time in flight that sonic booms can be substantially reduced by incorporating specialized aircraft shaping techniques. Although mitigation of the sonic boom via specialized shaping techniques was theorized decades ago, until now this theory had never been tested with a flight vehicle subjected to actual flight conditions in a real atmosphere. The demonstrative success, which occurred on 27 August 2003 with repeat flights in the supersonic corridor at Edwards Air Force Base, is a critical milestone in the development of next-generation supersonic aircraft that could one day fly unrestricted over land and help usher in a new era of time-critical air transport. Pressure measurements obtained on the ground and in the air confirmed that the specific modifications made to a Northrop Grumman F-5E aircraft not only changed the shape of the shock wave signature emanating from the aircraft, but also produced a flat-top signature whose shape persisted, as predicted, as the pressure waves propagated through the atmosphere to the ground. This accomplishment represents a major advance towards reducing the startling and potentially damaging noise of a sonic boom. This paper describes the evolution of the SSBD program, including the rationale for test article selection, and provides an overview of the history-making accomplishments achieved during the SSBD effort, as well as the follow-on AFRLNASA Shaped Sonic Boom Experiment SSBE Program, whose goal was to further evaluate the characteristics and robustness of shaped boom signatures. The report includes 23 briefing charts that summarize its content.
- Fluid Mechanics
- Noise Pollution and Control