Tag Archives: X-plane

X-Plane

DARPA has selected multiple performers to continue the Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors (CRANE) program. Aurora Flight Sciences and Lockheed Martin Corporation are now entering Phase 1, which includes system requirements development, initial design work, software development, and initial airworthiness activities that culminate in a preliminary design review.

Aurora Flight Sciences
Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing Company, was selected to continue to Phase 1 of DARPA’s CRANE program

«The Phase 1 researchers have completed conceptual designs of novel flight demonstration configurations with quantifiable performance benefits enabled by Active Flow Control (AFC)», said Doctor Alexander Walan, program manager for CRANE in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. «Multiple AFC technologies will continue to be matured through advanced analytical and testing activities for incorporation in relevant demonstrator designs».

One of the primary objectives of Phase 0 was the development and maturation of AFC design software and databases for inclusion in future aircraft development activities. Georgia Tech Research Corporation’s Phase 0 effort has been extended to allow further refinement of these tools for transition to relevant military and government partners.

«In addition to its role in upcoming flight test activities, AFC design software is a critical piece for the inclusion of AFC technologies in future defense and commercial aircraft designs», said Walan. «The CRANE program is in a unique position to provide a comprehensive AFC database and the associated tools to future aircraft designers. The continuation of Georgia Tech Research Corporation’s work in this area will ensure this valuable capability is successfully transitioned to the aircraft design community».

DARPA has also selected another performer, BAE Systems, to initiate a Phase 0 conceptual design activity. Phase 0 is focused on AFC trade space exploration and risk reduction activities to inform this work. Under the recent Phase 0 award, BAE Systems will evaluate the benefits of using AFC integrated into different air vehicle concepts leading to a conceptual design review.

«All of the CRANE performers are exploring unique configurations and performance objectives; this additional performer adds to the diverse concepts and technologies being matured by the CRANE program», said Walan.

X-plane

Supersonic commercial travel is on the horizon. On April 3, 2018, NASA awarded Lockheed Martin Skunk Works a contract to design, build and flight test the Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator, an X-plane designed to make supersonic passenger air travel a reality.

The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works’ X-plane design will cruise at 55,000 feet/16,764 m, Mach 1.4, and will generate a gentle, supersonic heartbeat instead of a sonic boom
The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works’ X-plane design will cruise at 55,000 feet/16,764 m, Mach 1.4, and will generate a gentle, supersonic heartbeat instead of a sonic boom

«It is super exciting to be back designing and flying X-planes at this scale», said Jaiwon Shin, NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics. «Our long tradition of solving the technical barriers of supersonic flight to benefit everyone continues».

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works will build a full-scale experimental aircraft, known as an X-plane, of its preliminary design developed under NASA’s Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) effort. The X-plane will help NASA establish an acceptable commercial supersonic noise standard to overturn current regulations banning commercial supersonic travel over land.

«We’re honored to continue our partnership with NASA to enable a new generation of supersonic travel», said Peter Iosifidis, Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator program manager, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. «We look forward to applying the extensive work completed under QueSST to the design, build and flight test of the X-plane, providing NASA with a demonstrator to make supersonic commercial travel possible for passengers around the globe».

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works and NASA have partnered for more than a decade to enable the next generation of commercial supersonic aircraft. NASA awarded Lockheed Martin Skunk Works a contract in February 2016 for the preliminary design of the supersonic X-plane flight demonstrator.

The aircraft will be built at the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, California, and will conduct its first flight in 2021.