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Total In-Flight Simulator 50th Anniversary

AFRL’s Total In-Flight Simulator is celebrating 50 years of service.

AFRL’s Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS), a Convair C-131 Samaritan aircraft, entered service on March 22, 1955. The C-131 aircraft had performed various transport operations for approximately a decade up to that point, and the Air Force (AF) Flight Dynamics Laboratory—now AFRL— subsequently chose it for a very special mission: developing next-generation air vehicles.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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F-35 Antenna Measurement Program

Engineers evaluate F-35 Joint Strike Fighter antenna performance using a unique far-field aperture measurement facility.

Engineers are conducting sophisticated performance testing of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) antennas at the AFRL Newport Research Facility, New York. Through an agreement with the F-35 Joint Program Office, engineers from Lockheed Martin and AFRL’s Rome Research Site are collaborating on the test effort. Because antenna testing is occurring early in the aircraft development cycle, the team is using a model—a full-scale F-35 replica—to measure the installed performance of the aircraft’s communications, navigation, identification, and electronic warfare antennas. The goal of this testing program is to optimize antenna performance and identify and correct antenna problems before the aircraft design is finalized and antenna system changes consequently become more difficult and expensive to incorporate.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers
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A New Method for Determining Aeroballistic Parameters From Flight Data

AFRL develops a new aerodynamic analysis program.

Dr. Gregg Abate, an AFRL exchange engineer, developed a new method for determining aeroballistic parameters from projectile flight data. Assigned to the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics (commonly known as the Ernst-Mach Institute), Freiburg, Germany, Dr. Abate was a participant in the AFRL-managed Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program, a Department of Defense effort to promote international cooperation in military research, development, and acquisition through the exchange of defense engineers and scientists.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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Fire-Resistant Hydraulic Fluid

B-52/Missile Sustainment Group adopts AFRL-developed hydraulic fluid.

An AFRL-developed fire-resistant hydraulic fluid recently completed a B-52 flight test, and based on successful test results, systems engineers from Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center (OC-ALC) will adopt the fluid (MILPRF- 87527) for use in over 90% of the aircraft’s hydraulic systems. OC-ALC engineers will conduct further tests to determine whether they can also convert the hydraulic systems controlling the B-52’s landing gear and wingtip protection struts to the fire-resistant fluid. AFRL expects the improved fluid’s higher flash point and reduced flammability to increase the B-52 aircraft’s survivability and overall operational safety. Further, the fluid’s associated thermal stability measurements and fluid film thickness data indicate it performs well over extended periods of time in hightemperature environments and in temperatures as low as -65°F.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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Predicting the Composition of Metallic Glasses

Advancements in predicting the composition of metallic glasses will help the Air Force meet the requirements of tomorrow’s technologies.

AFRL scientists made significant progress in developing bulk metallic glasses to improve the durability and performance of aerospace components. They also successfully created working scientific models that can predict the composition of new metallic glasses, a capability that helps researchers determine in advance whether a particular glass can be manufactured in bulk form. As a direct result of their effort, researchers recently discovered several new bulk metallic glasses. Their work also led to the successful development of a new technique to illustrate the topology of amorphous (noncrystalline) metal alloys.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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Innovative Processes Strengthen F-15E Vertical Stabilizers

Engineers develop novel adhesive bonding and nondestructive testing techniques to combat the damaging effects of vibration.

AFRL materials engineers resolved a potentially serious problem that affects the operational life of F-15E vertical stabilizers. Working with engineers from Warner Robins Air Logistics Center (WR-ALC), Georgia, they successfully developed, demonstrated, and transitioned an adhesive bonding process and nondestructive inspection (NDI) technique that ensure the stiffening doublers attached to both sides of the aircraft’s two vertical stabilizers remain adequately secured (see figure on next page). Successful transition of these innovative methods restores the operational life of the vertical stabilizers.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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