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The US Air Force Research Laboratory and Lockheed Martin have kicked off an $18 million research programme into active aeroelastic control technologies, which if proved practical would in principle translate into thinner, lighter and better optimised wings with a much higher aspect ratio than is possible with the rigid wings that have characterised most powered flight to-date.
The initial USAF programme, which is worth about $18 million, covers the cost of developing the unmanned X-56 and performing about 20 initial test flights on the purpose-built machine. It includes two of the Lockheed Martin-built aircraft, three sets of fibreglass high-aspect ratio aeroelastic wings and one "stiff" wing.
Initial flights, including a 26 July data-gathering sortie, are being undertaken with the stiff wing. Later flights will use the lighter, more flexible fiberglass wings. These are detachable because of the high-risk nature of the testing, and the aircraft also has a built-in parachute to hopefully prevent the total loss of an airframe if there is an accident.
Many theories, concepts and technologies are re-invented and re-introduced on a constant basis as time progresses. The shrinking electronics, sensors, raw materials, and especially faster computing has allowed this to progress upto a great extent IMO. I sometimes wonder how many of the earlier patents are re-visited every year by DARPA/DOD every year.
Originally posted by stirling
Boy Those Wright Bros sure were ahead of their time hey?I had thought that this tech was already in the R&D stages for some time already.....This is natural step for craft fitted with non metallic synthetic skins of new and exciting materials coming onstream