Highly-Integrated Structures for an Air-launched Sensor Platform

Period of Performance: 08/21/2015 - 04/14/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Aurora Flight Sciences Corp.
9950 Wakeman Drive Array
Manassas, VA 20110
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT:During the Phase I Program, Aurora will perform a conceptual-level design of an air-launched sensor platform featuring integrated antennas, with the goal of maximizing range and endurance thanks to the improved aerodynamic qualities. The technology is expected to replace many traditional antenna installations on military UAVs, and then find applications in the commercial world, including uses unrelated to air vehicles. The problem of antenna integration is tightly coupled with that of structural layout and overall vehicle configuration; the Aurora/Resonant Sciences team will work in parallel to identify preferred solutions and demonstrate the feasibility of the concept. Based on the findings of the study, one antenna concept will be selected and a sample part built to start assessing the manufacturing aspects of the technology. The proposed Phase I program will pave the way for a detailed structural design, antenna breadboard testing, and the demonstration of an adaptive wing actuation under load in a wind tunnel in Phase II. BENEFIT:The need for structurally embedded antennas is primarily being driven by the U.S. defense industry for future aircraft development programs. The technology developed as a result of this program would find applications in both military and commercial aircraft applications. Aurora will work to develop this technology and transition any processes or techniques developed during the course of this program to the military and commercial sectors. Application of this technology to Department of Defense programs will allow a cleaner aerodynamic design, longer range and endurance, as well as better sensor coverage, and provide the airframe designer with increased design possibilities. Aurora will market the design and manufacturing techniques developed during this program as a tool in the acquisition and development of new aircraft programs in both the military and commercial sectors. It is expected that the early market will include Department of Defense contractors and specifically programs focused on the development of advanced composite aircraft structures.