DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Agency projects the Pentagon, has a reputation as an organization willingly used innovatorskie solutions for their own practical problems. Such well-known danger to staff and mc as improvised explosive devices have caused the emergence of programs from «Transformers.»
Private primary requirements «Transformers» DARPA asked participants to «demonstrate a 4-seater, flying and roadable vehicle that provides combat unit independent of terrain mobility. TC will be able to vertical take-off and landing, with a small combat range 250 nautical miles on a single tank of fuel. «
Translation of an article from «CodeOneMagazine», May 26, 2013, Eric Hehs, created illustrations Doug Moore
«Skunk Works» (English Skunk works) — a secret compartment offices «Lockheed» (English Lockheed Martin). Formally called «Lockheed’s Advanced Development Project division», headed by Kelly Johnson standing units.
«Transportation and logistics troops inaccessible terrain has become one of the main problems, especially because South American military crosses at least the introduction of distributed and more than combat units,» — explained to Kevin Renshaw (Kevin Renshaw), who heads Lockheed Martin Skunk Works program from Transformer.
Skunk Works team formed in 2010 together with Piasecki Aircraft Corporation and Ricardo, Inc, which were chosen for programs from DARPA Transformer. In the first step applets Skunk Works team conducted economic research and developed the concept of a system for a Transformer.
The program, at the present time which is in phase 3, aims to develop a new generation of compact, high-speed, vertical takeoff and landing, or VTOL, or VTOL, delivery systems.
Frames applets from that time have been expanded to focus on modularity VTOL that can adapt to several types of missions with interchangeable payload.
«Transformer applies several major technologies for the creation of operational VTOL systems more compact than ordinary helicopters and vpribavok this moving with a highest speed» — said Renshaw.
Out on the second step programs from DARPA Transformer in 2011, a team of Lockheed Martin formed his concept and graduated with a preliminary review of the design and other technical DARPA spices in 2012.
Draft project became the basis for Phase 3, which includes the design and construction of the system layout. Lockheed Martin won the contract for Phase 3 $ 20.3 million at the end of 2012 on the detailed study of the scheme, tests on the reduction of risk, which will lead to the final choice of design. DARPA then evaluate the possibility of flight layout built in 2015.
Lockheed Martin has a head start in developing and deploying systems unmanned vertical takeoff and landing due to K-MAX, unmanned cargo helicopters operated in the current time of the United States Marine Corps in Afghanistan. K-MAX helicopters piloted remotely with automatic navigation between Putnam points, delivering cargo to the outer suspension.
Engineers Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training showed the introduction of these unmanned helicopters to deliver more than three million pounds (1,360 tons) of cargo for the Marines. System limited their interaction with tens of thousands of soldiers IED hours. The success of K-MAX in Afghanistan led the Marines to extend the demonstration indefinitely.
Mission Systems and Training have an agreement with the Office of Naval research, to show the advanced sensors and controls for vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aerial systems (unmanned air systems), or UAS, within applets autonomous air cargo system (Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System), or AACUS.
AACUS test sensors and flight control software, so that future generations VTOL UAS autonomously determine the landing zone, avoid obstacles and made the landing without a remote pilot intervention. The system will be designed for programming soldiers and Marines operating in this field, using a conventional, intuitive interface controls, such as military or tablet computers phones excessive strength. This development vcherkivaet Transformer specifically as part of the upcoming DARPA layout control of military operations.
Flight module vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), with ducted fan, designed to fit Transformer to several types of missions, with interchangeable payload. The load may include cargo capsules, honey evacuation modules, tactical ground vehicles embody the intelligence and ability to shock.
Tilting ducted fans provide more benign application, combining the highest speed with the landing area half the size required for a conventional helicopter with the same payload.
One of the first requirements for Transformers — perenastryki his opportunity to travel to one lane road. So Makar, the system can take up to a maximum of 8.5 feet wide and 30 feet long (2.6 by 9.1 meters). «Road width determines the size of duct fans,» — says Renshaw. «Restrictions lead to a system fits into a small hangar ship or transport in C-130. Channel design of the fan, with the outside by the rotor will also help increase the security of the troops on the ground. «
Ability to use the same flight module to perform several missions reduce costs fleet. Transformers complement the more expensive special attack helicopters that require piloting prepared crews. «The modular concept increases the original vision DARPA, allowing diversify role, offering versatility at the moment and adaptability in the future» — said Renshaw.
The transition from horizontal to vertical flight for takeoffs and landings will run machine. Working autonomously version will move to this place of delivery, avoiding obstacles in the path or in the landing zone.
The design takes full advantage of the research results in the field of digital control of VTOL done by Lockheed Martin in the last fifteen years, the program X-35 and F-35. Also applied prior experience with self-managed teams of unmanned aerial systems. «Operation of such a system in a mode VTOL, transition and cruise Requests flight control system implementation», — says Renshaw.
Company Piasecki Aircraft, has long been a leading research helicopter and VTOL flight is responsible for developing the module, including the design of the lifting drive. Frank Piasecki developed a system of dual-rotor helicopter in 1950. Now its rotors used on CH-46 Sea Knight and Chinook CH/MH-47. Previous experience of the company’s channel fan VTOL aircraft includes a series of demonstrators VZ-8 AirGeep. Piasecki also examined the potential lifting of modular systems in the project for the evacuation of military doctors for the U.S. Army.
Within applets Transformer layout has been enhanced to highlight the development of the flying part modular system for the initial demonstration. Flight tests show the layout now flying system module as UAS (UAV, UAV, unmanned air systems), instead of manned funds managed remotely pilot (RPV) as for the 2nd phase of the work.
«The operating system always required to be able to make flights as vysokoavtonomny UAS (UAV), the flight module is able to return to base after unloading the car,» — explained to Renshaw. «Working draft will certainly be able to carry the car as one of many relevant loads.»
During phase three Lockheed Martin team will create detailed drawings of the hardware for the full layout of the flight module. The development will include hardware, drive shafts, propellers, controls, gear boxes lifting system.
Team adapts existing flight management computers that will be used for digital flight control system. The team will also elect sensors, GPS-navigators, stripes data for UAS. Lengthy items box as gears and bearings, will be ordered for the first test boxes planned for 2014.
«The prototype will be powered by the existing helicopter turboshaft engines» — explained to Renshaw. «We will choose the available components to minimize the costs of the prototype.»
Will also be made and software digital flight control, guidance, transients and cruising. Modeling and control system aerobatic properties are maintained in laboratories flight control. These simulations focused on ensuring release of the software package for test equipment and flight tests.
The team also builds a scale model of one third, to test in a wind tunnel in the fall of 2013. Tests will characterize the effects of flow, energy and agility across the entire spectrum of thrust. These data will then be applied to the end of the flight model, the control laws and software for the layout.
Construction will begin with the layout boxes, duct fans, tilt devices. Then be added channel structures, flight control systems and electronics. Test data set of the shield will be used to measure and control rods and the feedback. Test board also will allow to test failures and emergency procedures with the hardware and software operations in a controlled environment.
The program will end with a demonstration of the possibility of flight module to perform vertical takeoff, hovering, a smooth transition to horizontal flight, also check the flight data and technical properties. Once the layout will show that he can fly, as predicted, will be performed additional tests with different types of payload. The specificity of these tests will depend on the requirements of consumers. «We will contact the operators of the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army Special Operations Command and to find the area reference system implementation», — says Renshaw.
«As soon as the Transformer will be one hundred percent developed, it will be able to provide future commanders great flexibility and the ability to transport personnel, carrying out reconnaissance missions also implementing support for troops on the battlefield,» — concluded Renshaw. Opportunity for small units to operate in the field, pulled out of forward bases, create supply or evacuation of the wounded. And all this without a support request using helicopters in high demand. This could revolutionize the conduct of distributed operation.
Historical information. «Skunk Works» (English Skunk works) — a secret compartment offices «Lockheed» (English Lockheed Martin). Formally, this unit was called «Lockheed’s Advanced Development Project division» — the company promising developments. Led unit was «Kelly» Johnson. Top-secret division of the firm «Lockheed» had cooperated in 1943 specifically to develop a fighter jet program from XP-80. Title secret Bureau received after the funny version. Applets on the project «Archangel 2» (future SR-71) engaged in a secret bureau not only firm Lockheed, and Boeing, although from the outset gave preference to the development of Lockheed. First 60s designers Lockheed addicted comics moonshiner and hidden moonshine varivshiysya often in forests including of skunks, printed on the last page of the weekly newspaper. Passion was so strong that steel workers zaglazno call «skunks» and the word, or rather the expression «skunk works» stuck and came up to the top after a phone call from the government, ministry spokesman was discouraged when he was told that due to the «skunk works . » The fact that the word «skunk» in relation to man translates as «villain», but the word is not a sparrow, and the unofficial title of the secret bureau stuck even funny skunk logo appears.
Creator Eric Hehs