Aerial Refueling Tanker and Receiver Aerodynamic Interaction Modeling and Simulation

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


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Coherent Technical Services, Inc.
46561 Expedition Drive Array
Lexington Park, MD 20653
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


The ability to refuel piloted aircraft in flight is considered a strategic military asset and has been a critical element of success in nearly every US and NATO military engagement of the jet age. Equally important going forward will be the ability to perform Autonomous Aerial Refueling (AAR) and refuel unmanned aircraft in flight. In order to properly set the requirements for AAR, a high-fidelity aerial refueling simulation is needed to predict performance and refine requirements. Modeling and simulation of aerial refueling provides an invaluable capability in designing and/or evaluating an AAR system allowing the Navy to accurately assess drogue stabilization, closure rates, turbulence and the bow wave effect, hose reel tension failure implications, and defining and predicting success rates.The proposed solution set forth in this effort involves developing a modified vortex lattice method (VLM) that is customized for calculating the incremental forces and moments on a generic receiver aircraft resulting from a non-uniform flow-field of a tanker aircraft. In the remainder of this proposal, this method is referred to as an incremental vortex lattice method or IVLM.