Graduate Team Aircraft Design Competition
Supersonic Multi-Utility Technology Test-bed
To continue to extend aeronautical sciences knowledge we must perform flight research; however we must do so in an affordable way. To that end a Multi-Use Technology Test-bed research aircraft is desired. The MUTT vehicle is to be used to test many configurations and technologies in flight. The vehicle is to be small enough to be affordable, even to vehicle loss, and big enough to be relevant to the technologies being investigated. The MUTT vehicle is seen as a flying laboratory to validate tools and technologies for application on larger operational aircraft. The vehicle will be used to support testing by the entire industry not just a single contractor. The MUTT vehicle has a “center body” of the primary reusable vehicle structure, propulsion system, landing gear, sub-systems, data acquisition system, recovery system and other high value systems, and configuration specific components such as wings and tails.
This MUTT vehicle will be used to investigate a number of different types of configurations in the transonic and supersonic range, such as standard wing and tail, delta wing canard, and tailless delta wing. The vehicle will also be used to research technologies, such as advanced air data and other sensors. The testing will including high risk flight test such as flutter in the transonic and supersonic flight regimes, tailless configurations control and possibly some testing of low boom supersonic flight concepts. This vehicle is viewed as a follow on to the sub-sonic X-56 aircraft and is not seen as being used for configurations with high aspect ratios greater than 5.
The joint agency (DARPA, AFRL, NAVAIR, and NASA) program office has a known budget of $200M over a four year period ($50M per year) to design, build, and perform initial flight testing and envelop expansion of a single vehicle and a single ground station. The offer should include the optional cost of an additional flight vehicle and associated hardware including the ground stations for remotely piloted designs.
The objective of this project is to design a research vehicle that is capable of performing high risk flight test of multiple technologies and configurations in the transonic and supersonic flight regime. Design trades should be presented that includes a manned aircraft, an unmanned system, or an optionally manned aircraft. Additional trades should be presented that include vehicle performance and flight envelop, the range of different configurations that can be supported, and possible research payloads that could be carried. Because of the risk level of possible testing, the vehicle should be designed to allow for recovery of high value components and crew if applicable. Key elements of this project are to estimate the size, weight, and performance dictated by the budget of the program; and to perform a layout of a preferred research vehicle concept and show how other configurations would be accommodated. The proposal will include a discussion of the aircraft and subsystem technologies incorporated into the design that are direct contributors in achieving best capability for an affordable cost.