Advent, Invent Address F-35 Needs And Look Ahead
By Graham Warwick
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
The Invent integrated ground demonstration, meanwhile, is also planned to culminate in 2016, around the time the initial system upgrades developed under Invent Spiral 1 could be finding their way into production F-35s. One of those upgrades, the capability to calculate the F-35's remaining thermal capacity in real time, is at the heart of Invent's drive to move the industry to using dynamic models and away from static specifications.
Being developed under a Phase 2 small-business innovative research contract with PC Krause and Associates, the real-time thermal capacity algorithm “will allow the pilot to know if he is adding heat to the fuel versus cooling it, to know if he is jeopardizing the mission,” says Sam Septembre, a senior analyst with the Navy's futures branch. If too much heat is being added, the pilot could climb to a higher altitude to let the fuel cool down. The capability could be in the aircraft within 3-4 years, he says.
Initially the algorithm, derived from detailed models of the F-35 thermal-management system and designed to adapt to changing environmental and mission conditions, would be used in the preflight mission planning system. Later the aircraft fuel tank would be instrumented and a gauge in the cockpit would show if heat is being added or rejected, allowing the pilot to take an active role in thermal management.
Spinning technologies off to the F-35 while continuing toward development of an energy-efficient, sixth-generation fighter with high-power capacity and no thermal constraints will be key to sustaining industry's capabilities over the next decade. Without a “meaningful opportunity for leading-edge design, build and test,” says Kendall in his memo, the U.S. capability to design high-performance aircraft “will not be preserved, and our technological advantage in [air dominance] will not endure.”