Improving Mission Performance Using A Field Reconfigurable, Multi-Role Aircraft
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The unmanned aircraft sector has been rapidly growing and has been expanding into many industries. With the rapid growth of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) comes a wide variety of different aircraft. Today’s aircraft incorporate having one configuration to perform a specific task, such as having a fixed wingspan. As the need to carry out a different task appears, the aircraft will not be able to achieve the proper performance leading to the purchase of a different aircraft. This introduces issues for consumers in the UAS sector causing confusion among users and increasing costs. Current solutions involve incorporating vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) components into the airframe, but many of these do not allow the removal of these parts. Other solutions offer semi-modular designs but have inadequate increases in performance. Therefore, the need for a re-configurable multi-role aircraft is required to help improve mission performance and lower the associated cost of single-use aircraft. The reconfigurable aircraft will consist of different configurations allowing the user to perform a wide range of missions without a loss in performance. This allows the user to swap different components such as the wings to increase endurance, range, and maneuverability. Thus, the reconfigurable aircraft was designed and a systematic approach was taken to identify which components needed modularization. The modular components are the standard wings, extended wings, VTOL section, tail, and payload or accessories. The wings and tail are then optimized for achieving the best flight performance. The structure then needs to be field-reconfigurable; therefore, a unique spar was designed for allowing rapid transition. The overall system was also designed for rapidly prototyping and creating new structures. This allows for new components to be designed and implemented into the aircraft. The re-configurable aircraft is then compared and shown to current market single-use aircraft to show that a modular approach can achieve and out-perform those aircraft.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Literature review -- Aircraft design concept & specifications -- Design optimization -- Flight performance -- Prototyping & flight test -- Accessories and design integration -- Conclusion & future work
M.S. (Master of Science)