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DARPA looks to BAE Systems for active flow control design

7th September 2021 - 12:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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BAE Systems will leverage its experience in the MAGMA programme (pictured) to help develop active flow control technologies for DARPA. (Photo: BAE Systems)

BAE Systems supports DARPA CRANE programme to improve aircraft performance with active flow control.

BAE Systems announced on 6 September that it will ‘progress the design and testing of revolutionary flow control technologies’ for future US military aircraft.

Under a contract from DARPA in the Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors (CRANE) project, the company will design a full-scale demonstrator concept based on active flow control. The demonstrator aircraft will be able to manoeuvre in flight without conventional flight control surfaces and with ‘improved performance, maintainability, and survivability’, BAE Systems claimed.

The company will mature design, integration, and de-risking activities, including wind tunnel testing at its facilities in the UK in 2022.

CRANE aims to inject active flow control early in the aircraft design process to demonstrate significant efficiency benefits, as well as improvements to aircraft cost, weight, performance, and reliability.

Active flow control can supplement or replace conventional moveable control surfaces to improve the performance of an aircraft at various stages of flight, as well as reduce mass and volume compared to aircraft with conventional controls to enable greater payloads and greater flexibility to the operator.

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