Thu, Apr 24, 2003
Just the Ticket for Cruise Missiles; Better Than 'Swing
Raytheon is developing a revolutionary aircraft structure
technology that could change in flight to adapt to mission
requirements, targets and other changes in battle.
Raytheon received a $4.1 million contract from the
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for its work
under the Morphing Aircraft Structures program. Raytheon is
proposing adaptive wing technology for its cruise missile mission
vehicles. Prototypes are scheduled to be tested in early 2005.
Morphing wings is the first in a series of steps to permit a cruise
missile to travel at high speeds to a target area, loiter and then
move to another target area, with speed changes from 0.3 Mach to
3.0 Mach (roughly 200 to 2000 mph). The technology ultimately could
be applied to other platforms and future air vehicles, manned and
DARPA's Defense Sciences Office is investigating advanced
concepts that use integrated design with advanced materials,
actuators, sensors and electronics to create devices and adaptive
structures that enable significant in-flight vehicle shape change.
These shape changes are more significant than those currently found
in flight vehicles, and, in turn, will enable new military
capabilities such as those envisioned by Raytheon.
"Raytheon's Morphing program intends to demonstrate
revolutionary capability to allow a single missile to be able to
perform multiple missions or the same mission more effectively,"
said Donald Uhlir, Raytheon's Morphing program manager.
"Morphing capability applied to a missile would enable efficient
flight at multiple speeds and altitudes without sacrificing
performance as is currently the case when operating off the
optimized cruise point," Uhlir said. Exceptionally quick response
to a threat and mission flexibility could mean fewer missiles are
needed to destroy a target.
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