Response Surface Modeling of Aerodynamic Interference Effects for Refueling Scenarios

Period of Performance: 06/02/2016 - 12/12/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Combustion Research & Flow Technology
6210 Keller's Church Road Array
Pipersville, PA 18947
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


Aerial refueling is a mission-critical component of Navy operations. The refueling portion of a mission is made difficult by the inherent interference between the tanker and receiver aircraft. The receiver aircraft may experience various forms of disturbances while approaching the fuel hose and drogue, stressing the control system of an autonomous vehicle. Current flight simulation capabilities are unable to accurately reproduce the impact of the complex tanker wake on the receiver aircraft. The proposed research program will demonstrate the feasibility of a Modeling and Simulation (M&S) toolkit that may be incorporated into the CASTLE simulation environment for simulating incremental changes in the forces and moments of the receiver aircraft as it approaches the tanker during typical refueling scenarios. Through the use of high fidelity Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) predictions, Response Surface Models will be developed which shall encompass the complex wake effects on the receiver aerodynamic coefficients as a low order polynomial. This approach provides an analytic representation of system behavior that may be quickly interrogated for use in real time flight simulation. The proposed program will examine the use of RSMs for different tanker/receiver configurations, and explore their applicability to predicting drogue dynamics during receiver approach.