Multi-Role Close Air Support Weapon

MBDA Arlington, VA

MBDA recently demonstrated its Dual Mode Brimstone (DMB) missile on an MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), scoring nine direct hits against a range of targets, including very-high-speed and maneuvering vehicles. Dual Mode Brimstone is a combat-proven weapon designed for the engagement of moving and maneuvering targets, and targets in high collateral risk / urban environments. Brimstone can now provide Reaper crews with a weapon that reduces collateral damage risk and demonstrates first-pass, single-shot lethality against high-speed maneuvering targets on land and at sea, and in complex environments.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Military aircraft, Missiles, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Manufacturing Robotic Tools for Piping Inspection and Repair

Fleet piping systems are complex, space-constrained systems that are difficult to inspect using standard external inspection techniques. Pipe lagging, as well as limited space, makes external access prohibitively expensive and difficult. A robotic tool was developed that will deliver a sensor package capable of real-time corrosion/erosion and pipe wall measurements. Implementation of this system will allow for fleet preventative maintenance (PM), ensuring that possible failures are detected and replaced before they occur.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Sensors and actuators, Fleet management, Maintenance, Repair and Service Operations, Tools and equipment, Robotics, Inspections

Fabricating Porous Systems for Super-Dense Memories and Sensors

This project was dedicated to solving basic scientific issues and developing the scientific basis that underlies the improvement of super-dense memories, towards the terabit-per-square-inch goal and the engineering of chemical and biological sensors. Both applications rely on porous materials. Among them, porous alumina has demonstrated to provide major improvements in these two diverse applications.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Computer software / hardware, Sensors and actuators, Fabrication, Aluminum alloys

Design and Fabrication of a Radio Frequency Grin Lens Using 3D Printing

Engineered electromagnetic materials and meta-materials have been researched to explore devices that enable access to electromagnetic properties that are not available in nature. This new class of devices can not only open the door to new functionality, but also be effectively utilized to improve the overall performance of existing systems with respect to electromagnetic performance, cost, size, weight, and repeatability.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid prototyping, Optics, Additive manufacturing, Fabrication, Materials properties

Preparing Carbon-Coated Current Collectors for High-Power Lithium-Ion Secondary Batteries

Achieving high-power capability of a battery requires minimizing the overall resistance of the electrochemical system. For lithium-ion batteries, much effort has been devoted to minimize the ionic diffusion resistances and electronic resistance associated with the electrode active materials. In the typical electrode configuration, the layer containing the active material is supported on a metallic current collector. The interface between the current collector and active layer imposes additional resistance to charge transfer within the electrode. The advancement in material synthesis technologies has reduced the ionic and electronic resistances associated with the active materials to the point that they become competitive to the other resistance sources. Thus, the significance of the electronic resistance at the active layer/current collector (AL/CC) interface is worthy of re-examination.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Lithium-ion batteries, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Materials properties

Hybrid-electric distributed propulsion explored

A turboelectric distributed propulsion (TeDP) system is a powertrain consisting of a turboshaft engine used solely to provide electrical power through a generator to electric motors driving multiple propulsive fans that are distributed above, below, or inside a wing.

Posted in: Technology Update, Aerospace, Defense, Electric motors, Fans, Turbojet engines, Hybrid electric vehicles

Enabling high-strength composites to reach their full potential

The use of composite materials for construction of aerospace components began in the early 1980s and is now the material of choice for commercial and military airframe designers. Composite material properties such as stiffness, weight, strength, and corrosion resistance have invigorated the transfer of composites within aerospace to include interior components such as seats and service carts. Interior parts and components account for as much as 40% of a commercial airliner’s empty operating weight and represent a larger market (by volume) than airframe structures.

Posted in: Technology Update, Aerospace, Defense, Airframes, Interior molding and trim, Composite materials, Materials properties

Designing quieter aircraft via acoustic simulation

Greater fuel efficiency and low emission requirements have grown into such an urgent imperative in aircraft design that it often overshadows an equally significant factor in air travel—noise.

Posted in: Technology Update, Aerospace, Defense, Simulation Software, Computer simulation, Design processes, Noise

Navigating Regulatory Compliance for UAV Electronics Development

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) deliver sophisticated capabilities with tremendous cost advantage over traditional methods. While this technology has evolved from military missions, civil and commercial sectors are beginning to realize many of the same remote sensing benefits. However, one of the main barriers to rapid full-scale commercial growth is the concern for safety. As a myriad of certification agencies scramble to keep up with the unique demands of this fast-growing industry, one thing is clear – where applicable, pertinent certification standards for manned aircraft are starting to apply. For the complex electronics that provide the brains of these systems, this means a swift move towards compliance with DO-178C for software and DO-254 for hardware development.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Electronic equipment, Regulations, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Simulating Lightweight Vehicles Operating on Discrete Terrain

Engineers increasingly rely on simulation to augment and, in some cases, replace costly and time consuming experimental work. However, current simulation capabilities are sometimes inadequate to capture phenomena of interest.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Automation, Computer simulation, Lightweighting, Military vehicles and equipment