A successful ground test has been conducted in the US for systems used by the “Fury” unmanned aircraft.
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North Carolina defence company Blue Force Technologies and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), operated by the United States Air Force Materiel Command, conducted the test of a novel carbon fiber composite propulsion flowpath system.
Propulsion system testing in a controlled environment is critical for the development of the high-performance uncrewed fifth generation aircraft.
Blue Force Technologies president Scott Bledsoe said the test supplies high-fidelity data that will be used in validation of computational methods over the coming months.
“On an uncrewed fighter like Fury, proper integration of the propulsion flowpath is the most significant design driver for the overall vehicle,” he said.
“It was crucial to us to demonstrate, prior to building flight test aircraft, that we could correctly predict the interaction between the propulsion flowpath components and the Williams International engine.
“With AFRL’s help, we are further building out our digital engineering toolchain to enable future ACP variants to be designed quickly.”
AFRL Bandit program manager Alyson Turri said the program had progressed significantly during the last six months.
“After making engine selection in June 2022, the AFRL and BFT team worked to finalise test objectives and procedures concurrently with BFT’s hardware build to ensure this full-scale test came together in under six months,” she said.
“The Bandit program is about demonstrating ever tighter model-to-hardware prototype development cycles for autonomous collaborative platforms, and this integrated propulsion flowpath test is indicative of that approach.”
Air vehicle technology developed under the Bandit program is expected to be relevant to future adversary air training objectives for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and other Autonomous Collaborative Platform (ACP) mission areas.