Flexible Payload Bay - design for reducing observability.
The future operating environment will require a fighter aircraft capable of carrying a range of payloads. Investment in the development of a flexible payload bay will enable a future platform to operate efficiently whilst maintaining a low radar cross-section and operating at supersonic speeds.
Designing bays capable of operating at supersonic speeds is extremely challenging and requires consideration of the noise and vibration environment. Given the complexity of the integration of weapons and platforms, we have co-funded an industry partnership with MBDA and Harris Corporation to demonstrate our capability in the field. A bay was designed, manufactured and stores release tested between the partners.
In this video, Phil Astley-Jones, Technical Manager for the programme talks about the trials in more detail and you can read more about them in this news release.
The resultant data was shared between the partners and will help inform designs for a future fighter. Further research is now investigating design options for the integration of different types of payload within the bay.
Long Range Sensing
In general terms, the greater a combat aircraft's sensor range, the greater the survivability and lethality of the aircraft. Understanding future sensing options in terms of cost, function, performance and airframe integration impact will enable key design decisions to be made as early as possible.
We work closely with academics in the development of cutting-edge technologies like this that could one day find their way onto a future combat air system.
We are working with a range of partners across academia and industry, both large and small, to identify emerging and novel sensing technologies including quantam sensing.
Fraser Macfarlane, PhD student at the University of Strathclyde has been working on developing algorithms to make the processing of data from sensors more efficient. When aircraft are gathering tens of thousands of images over a short space of time, it's important that the data can be analysed and understood as quickly as possible. Sensors will play an ever more vital role as autonomous technology becomes more commonplace in military situations.