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Meeting Unmanned Air Vehicle Platform Challenges Using Oblique Wing Aircraft

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Conference paper

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There is an ever increasing emphasis on unmanned vehicles for all kinds of roles. Recent experience suggests that their capability and payoff could be complementary to manned vehicles in combat situations. However, the levels of platform and inter-disciplinary technologies need to be developed to take full advantage of their performance potential as part of an integrated defence system. This applies to all classes of Unmanned vehicles. Further, a balance has to be struck between manoeuvrability, stealth and enhancing range persistence whilst possibly combining reconnaissance and strike roles. A level of autonomy is implied push button capability. Innovation and system integration is therefore called for. Future aircraft, particularly unmanned aircraft, will have substantially widened flight envelopes higher g, AoA and over wider Mach, altitude and CL ranges. An in depth analysis of aircraft weight breakdown structure, fuel and payload and the trends with time, size and technology levels, together with consideration and adaptation of the Breguet Range Equation has enabled derivation of Efficiency parameters leading to an appreciation of technologies needed for innovation and for further development. The paper focuses on the Oblique Flying Wing OFW concept to meet the goals of enhancing Range, Persistence whilst combining roles of Reconnaissance, Sensing and Strike. Several developing technologies, e.g. control, guidance and structure have prompted a re-visit to OFW. Included is a discussion of Close Formation Flying CFF and Air-to-Air Refuelling AAR as these have a very significant and favourable effect on the overall integrated military scene. A limited amount of work related to performance estimates with of LD improvements has been shown. All this has lead to several ideas for further work and enlargement of the design space afforded by OFW.

Subject Categories:

  • Navigation and Guidance
  • Pilotless Aircraft

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