It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
AFRL is developing fly-by-light technology flight control systems to be lighter and smaller, require less maintenance, and be more resistant to electromagnetic impulses than conventional fly-by-wire systems. AFRL’s fly-by-light technology does not employ wires and is naturally resistant to electromagnetic interference, providing the same flight control capabilities as fly-by-wire systems without the necessity for shielding.
AFRL teamed with Northrop Grumman; BAE Systems; and Dynamic Controls, Inc., to validate a fly-by-light, photonic-controlled actuation system (PCAS). The PCAS consists of a modified electromechanical actuator (EMA) and an optical controller that provides actuator commands to the optical EMA. These commands are similar to the commands that a flight control computer provides. Engineers modified the EMA’s motor power devices to receive and react to command signals sent via light from the optical controller.
In addition, they replaced the EMA’s conventional sensors with optical sensors that measure actuator position, motor position, and current. Fiber-optic cables transmit information to the optical controller. Engineers collected EMA performance data during a series of test runs. Data analysis verified that the modified PCAS performed as designed, with no adverse effects to performance stemming from the fly-by-light components or technology.