(US) AFSOC R&D Development Initiatives

TomS

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What is the Launch Mechanisms?

Looks to be a pod containing a large number of very small guided munitions -- possibly something like Hatchet (9 pound glide bomb with a 3-pound warhead). Similar ideas have surfaced a couple of times before. The particular image in the slide is hard to scale, but it is interesting in that it seems to have a radar or other RF sensor at the front of the pod. Maybe for onboard target detection so it can be totally self-contained?
 

TomS

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Damn, they still want that C-130 float plane? Reading about that project here pushed me to create a membership, and now it’s almost been a decade!

I remember picking up the LM info card about it at Sea-Air-Space around 1996, which is nearly 25 years now.

I can't help but wonder whether just buying a small squadron of US-2s wouldn't make more sense. Same engines already and you could probably integrate a bunch of the MC-130 avionics without too much trouble. Whether that would be cheaper than the MC-130 float plane is anyone's guess.
 

yasotay

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Damn, they still want that C-130 float plane? Reading about that project here pushed me to create a membership, and now it’s almost been a decade!

I remember picking up the LM info card about it at Sea-Air-Space around 1996, which is nearly 25 years now.

I can't help but wonder whether just buying a small squadron of US-2s wouldn't make more sense. Same engines already and you could probably integrate a bunch of the MC-130 avionics without too much trouble. Whether that would be cheaper than the MC-130 float plane is anyone's guess.
"make more sense" + DoD policy = null

therefore: 10 years + $1.2B + LMCO + DoD policy = happy investors/engineers/Congressional staffs
 

_Del_

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Damn, they still want that C-130 float plane? Reading about that project here pushed me to create a membership, and now it’s almost been a decade!

I remember picking up the LM info card about it at Sea-Air-Space around 1996, which is nearly 25 years now.

I can't help but wonder whether just buying a small squadron of US-2s wouldn't make more sense. Same engines already and you could probably integrate a bunch of the MC-130 avionics without too much trouble. Whether that would be cheaper than the MC-130 float plane is anyone's guess.
Purchase price alone is twice as much as a J model. Then you have associated logistics train. By contrast, if you had a kit you could fit to any Herk as needed, or a more permanent kit that could be added to aircraft while still on the line, then...

Lockheed has thrown around ideas for everything from floats, to the retractable floats, to stepped hulls over the years. I doubt there are many stones left unturned. The combination of money needed and severe drag/range penalties has kept interest mild.
The SpecOps community has a good record of getting what they want, however, and perhaps with the Pacific "pivot" there is enough momentum to get through the sludge this time.

Edit:
Here's an old post from LO, citing an article almost 25 yrs old!

c130fp-jpg.633578


From IDR 2/98.


In another one-of-a-kind effort, Lockheed Martin is still working on one of the strangest C-130 derivatives yet: a floatplane version, under study since 1996. A small contract is supporting wind-tunnel and water tank tests.

The initial interest in this version came from the Navy SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) special-operations force, because of its potential to deliver SEAL teams in small watercraft to off-shore drop-off points, and recover them complete with their equipment.

The current concept features two 21 m pontoons, joined by faired struts which are attached to the C-130’s nose and main landing gear mounts. The estimated weight of the floats is 5900 kg and their drag is significant, but the better performance of the C-130J makes the modification more attractive: a C-130J with floats can carry a 9 t payload on a 2700 km un-refuelled mission, which exceeds the performance of any other runway-free vehicle. The floatplane can carry many SEAL craft, including swimmer delivery vehicles on launching pallets. Lockheed is confident that the aircraft will be able to operate in Sea State 2 and is aiming for Sea State 3 (2 m swells).

Lockheed Martin estimates that the floatplane could be built and tested in a 2.5-year program for about $20 million, and that a set of floats would cost about $7.5 million.
 
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TomS

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Purchase price alone is twice as much as a J model. Then you have associated logistics train. By contrast, if you had a kit you could fit to any Herk as needed, or a more permanent kit that could be added to aircraft while still on the line, then...

Didn't realize the US-2 is that expensive. Ouch. Still, at least it's already developed.

If they could adopt something more like that flying boat hull on a C-130J airframe, that would be impressive, but I wonder how expensive the development would end up being.
 

Moose

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Purchase price alone is twice as much as a J model. Then you have associated logistics train. By contrast, if you had a kit you could fit to any Herk as needed, or a more permanent kit that could be added to aircraft while still on the line, then...

Didn't realize the US-2 is that expensive. Ouch. Still, at least it's already developed.

If they could adopt something more like that flying boat hull on a C-130J airframe, that would be impressive, but I wonder how expensive the development would end up being.
If they're talking "amphibian," then a flying boat Hull definitely makes more sense than floats. Wheels on floatplanes certainly exist, but they're pretty limited.

Along with cost, my big hit against the US-2 is the lack of a ramp. They don't just want a seaplane the size of C-130, they want the versatility of the C-130's cargo box and ramp.
 

TomS

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Purchase price alone is twice as much as a J model. Then you have associated logistics train. By contrast, if you had a kit you could fit to any Herk as needed, or a more permanent kit that could be added to aircraft while still on the line, then...

Didn't realize the US-2 is that expensive. Ouch. Still, at least it's already developed.

If they could adopt something more like that flying boat hull on a C-130J airframe, that would be impressive, but I wonder how expensive the development would end up being.
If they're talking "amphibian," then a flying boat Hull definitely makes more sense than floats. Wheels on floatplanes certainly exist, but they're pretty limited.

Along with cost, my big hit against the US-2 is the lack of a ramp. They don't just want a seaplane the size of C-130, they want the versatility of the C-130's cargo box and ramp.

That is true. Being able to deploy a CCA or NSW RHIB would probably be a mission requirement, and the US-2 can't do that.

Well, hope they kept the files for this somewhere.
 
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DWG

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The other issue with US-2 would be Japanese export restrictions.

Interesting to see them looking at "shaft-driven lift-fans" when consensus seems to be that the cross-linking shaft in V-22 added more complexity and vulnerability than it was worth.
 

TomS

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The other issue with US-2 would be Japanese export restrictions.
Japan was set to sell US-2s to India and to Greece, IIRC. And to sell attack submarines to Australia. The rules seem to be changing.

Interesting to see them looking at "shaft-driven lift-fans" when consensus seems to be that the cross-linking shaft in V-22 added more complexity and vulnerability than it was worth.

I thought the issue was just in how the V-22 does the cross-connection, thanks to the forward-swept wing. The V-280 has a cross-connect shaft as well, but IIRC the connection is much simpler because the wing is dead straight.
 

yasotay

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The other issue with US-2 would be Japanese export restrictions.
Japan was set to sell US-2s to India and to Greece, IIRC. And to sell attack submarines to Australia. The rules seem to be changing.

Interesting to see them looking at "shaft-driven lift-fans" when consensus seems to be that the cross-linking shaft in V-22 added more complexity and vulnerability than it was worth.

I thought the issue was just in how the V-22 does the cross-connection, thanks to the forward-swept wing. The V-280 has a cross-connect shaft as well, but IIRC the connection is much simpler because the wing is dead straight.
A guess, but perhaps shaft driven lift-fans are being proposed to be electrically driven, vice shaft. Same logic I think as the tilt-fold that the electrical power need only be generated for the TO and landing efforts, unless of course they are thinking of hovering around for extended periods. The XV-5 in its day seemed to function satisfactorily I believe. Think Northrup-Grumman has done some work on this in the past as well.
To the point about the V-280, it is correct that the straight wing has significantly decrease complexity, and weight penalty too.
 

shedofdread

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Sorry to be dim but what's the sailplane like thing in the top right of the slide and what's above its centre section? Ducted fan?
 

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Shed, it'll be a very early test concept of the high speed vtol I imagine.

Now that I've looked at it again and seen _Del_ post its this:


Jetoptera 'fluidic propulsion system' so yeah...coanda effect.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXRxjckDYgU


An unmanned high speed vtol is a worthy effort I think. I think the interesting bit will be the range requirements.

It seems to me that SF are looking at a future where they may be required to retake small islands and fight more in the littoral, or from the sea.

A flying boat fits the bill better than a mod kit for the C-130. The loads on a flying boat hull can be severe and would not be designed for in the J at present. Fitting floats is an option, but I seriously doubt that they can offset the drag penalty sufficiently to be viable.

The US-2 might cost more at face value, right now, but would be well worth pursuing compared to trying to turn a hercules in to a flying boat.

Failing that, just get some Turbo Beavers / Viking Air Twin Otters
 
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_Del_

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I remember reading about the FPS concept, but didn't know they had flying hardware now. Figured it was just a graphic until I went to look for a link.
 

coanda

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I'm yet to see any comparison against other types of propulsion regarding SFC etc
 

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Sorry to be dim but what's the sailplane like thing in the top right of the slide and what's above its centre section? Ducted fan?
Looks like it's definitely a glider, probably a production one being used as a testbed, note what looks like the usual deep nose pod, narrow tail boom and single wheel under the pod to match the high aspect ratio wings. So some sort of motor-glider - maybe just an engine testbed, or possibl an unmanned long-endurance comms relay or sensor platform?
 

_Del_

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I'm yet to see any comparison against other types of propulsion regarding SFC etc
The bit from their site says similar efficiency to turbofans. Seems very optimistic, but perhaps I'm just a big cynic.

The other nagging doubt I have is how well this actually scales.
 

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I was involved in some test planning for the C-130 floatplane proposal. The big trick was that the float system (a huge, 80' long pair of amphibious floats from Edo) was self-contained. Take a C-130, jack it up, pull the landing gear, roll the whole float system under it, and attach it to the landing gear trunnions.

The nifty part being that once you had the engineering done, you can probably sell a bunch in Canada.
 

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Sorry to be dim but what's the sailplane like thing in the top right of the slide and what's above its centre section? Ducted fan?
Looks like it's definitely a glider, probably a production one being used as a testbed, note what looks like the usual deep nose pod, narrow tail boom and single wheel under the pod to match the high aspect ratio wings. So some sort of motor-glider - maybe just an engine testbed, or possibl an unmanned long-endurance comms relay or sensor platform?
It actually is a large RC model airplane ;)

View: https://youtu.be/BOiABzzwnh0
 

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Ah! Now all becomes clear :) Thank you VTOLicious. The aeroplane is a scale 'Fox' (an aerobatic sailplane) and the tubes are the propulsion. They would appear to work in the same way that workshop 'air multipliers' do (entrained airflow).

I suppose there's an advantage in no moving external fan faces / props but logic dictates there's a loss of efficiency (flow losses). Maybe swapping the high speed efflux of the turbine for a larger volume of lower speed air entrained through the tubes offsets some of these losses? Interesting nonetheless.
 

coanda

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Ah! Now all becomes clear :) Thank you VTOLicious. The aeroplane is a scale 'Fox' (an aerobatic sailplane) and the tubes are the propulsion. They would appear to work in the same way that workshop 'air multipliers' do (entrained airflow).

I suppose there's an advantage in no moving external fan faces / props but logic dictates there's a loss of efficiency (flow losses). Maybe swapping the high speed efflux of the turbine for a larger volume of lower speed air entrained through the tubes offsets some of these losses? Interesting nonetheless.
The idea is, entrainment makes up for those losses and more. Whether that actually happens in real life is a different matter however. You can see the design of jetopteras vehicles specifically look to induce and promote entrainment.
 

_Del_

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When I browsed their site yesterday, they had two DOD contracts (Army and USAF) looking at the acoustics in depth. One of the selling points was noise level and the type of noise. No "chop" associated with large rotors beating the air into submission.
Also had a small model successfully transitioning between vertical and horizontal flight.

So VTOL and quiet relative to rotary-wing flight. Explains why it's got some funding behind it and appears on that particular slide.
 

DWG

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Sorry to be dim but what's the sailplane like thing in the top right of the slide and what's above its centre section? Ducted fan?
Looks like it's definitely a glider, probably a production one being used as a testbed, note what looks like the usual deep nose pod, narrow tail boom and single wheel under the pod to match the high aspect ratio wings. So some sort of motor-glider - maybe just an engine testbed, or possibl an unmanned long-endurance comms relay or sensor platform?
It actually is a large RC model airplane ;)
See, I said it was a production glider ;)
 

coanda

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When I browsed their site yesterday, they had two DOD contracts (Army and USAF) looking at the acoustics in depth. One of the selling points was noise level and the type of noise. No "chop" associated with large rotors beating the air into submission.
Also had a small model successfully transitioning between vertical and horizontal flight.

So VTOL and quiet relative to rotary-wing flight. Explains why it's got some funding behind it and appears on that particular slide.
These things are always worth investigating. The turbine that is used to push air out of the ducts can be buried within the fuselage with plenty of sound deadening and the flow leaving the ducts will create very little noise.
 

_Del_

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When I browsed their site yesterday, they had two DOD contracts (Army and USAF) looking at the acoustics in depth. One of the selling points was noise level and the type of noise. No "chop" associated with large rotors beating the air into submission.
Also had a small model successfully transitioning between vertical and horizontal flight.

So VTOL and quiet relative to rotary-wing flight. Explains why it's got some funding behind it and appears on that particular slide.
These things are always worth investigating. The turbine that is used to push air out of the ducts can be buried within the fuselage with plenty of sound deadening and the flow leaving the ducts will create very little noise.
Like I said yesterday, I have my doubts on how well this scales, but I am something of a cynic. I've seen SBIR and STTR money go to worse things.
 

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Regarding the sound emitted, the sound will be a factor of the compressed air ejection speed. Also, the mass flow quantity of accelerated air (the ejector effect), at equal geometry, is a function of the speed of the compressed blown air.
Hence, you'll have to increase the speed and emits noise to get the most efficient regime of the system.
But obviously that does not take into effect any noise canceling means.
 

shedofdread

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Ah! Now all becomes clear :) Thank you VTOLicious. The aeroplane is a scale 'Fox' (an aerobatic sailplane) and the tubes are the propulsion. They would appear to work in the same way that workshop 'air multipliers' do (entrained airflow).

I suppose there's an advantage in no moving external fan faces / props but logic dictates there's a loss of efficiency (flow losses). Maybe swapping the high speed efflux of the turbine for a larger volume of lower speed air entrained through the tubes offsets some of these losses? Interesting nonetheless.
The idea is, entrainment makes up for those losses and more. Whether that actually happens in real life is a different matter however. You can see the design of jetopteras vehicles specifically look to induce and promote entrainment.
There was a coanda effect saucer-like UAV doing the rounds of the UK UAV shows a few years back (Aesir?) - they also sought to gain such an advantage. Not sure what happened to them - they seemed to disappear.
 

_Del_

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Regarding the sound emitted, the sound will be a factor of the compressed air ejection speed. Also, the mass flow quantity of accelerated air (the ejector effect), at equal geometry, is a function of the speed of the compressed blown air.
Hence, you'll have to increase the speed and emits noise to get the most efficient regime of the system.
But obviously that does not take into effect any noise canceling means.
It's not just volume, but also the type of noise. When you hear a helicopter, it's pretty distinctive. You know what it is. Other noises might be more easily buried in background noise...
 

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Regarding the sound emitted, the sound will be a factor of the compressed air ejection speed. Also, the mass flow quantity of accelerated air (the ejector effect), at equal geometry, is a function of the speed of the compressed blown air.
Hence, you'll have to increase the speed and emits noise to get the most efficient regime of the system.
But obviously that does not take into effect any noise canceling means.
It's not just volume, but also the type of noise. When you hear a helicopter, it's pretty distinctive. You know what it is. Other noises might be more easily buried in background noise...
Yeah type of noise can be used to fool people quite easily. Entrainment aims for increased mass flow rate at lower speeds. Whether the emitted jetwash is sufficiently high speed to create significant noise (as compared to what we're used to in terms of profile) remains to be seen.

I suspect that this form of propulsion suits the 'low speed' regime better than anything else.

As regards coanda effect drones, I'm yet to see this work with the advertised gains. Aesir was too early for the UAV explosion and I don't think it was particularly successful as a 'coanda effect' propulsion system. There was another guy in Dorset who reckons he had it cracked with his coanda effect craft - his was an improvement in that he used a centripetal fan to induce flow over a saucer. From my point of view this is an improvement in that the source of flow over the surface does not have a thrusting component along the axis of flight and therefore, this can really only create lift due to 'true' coanda effect. Again, too early for the proliferation of drone electronics we have now.

My username was chosen a long time ago after running in to these types of craft at university - the whole DH Canada shovel craft and centrifugal flow designs alongside reading about foo fighters and 'the bell' at the end of WW2 - all of that kind of stuff. You know, part of what you're supposed to do at uni, broaden your horizons.

I have another article somewhere that looked at a project that considered some of the surface details required to help boost coanda effect and entrainment.

I have an idea of what I'd like to do based on everything I've read, but, of course, it always comes down to time.
 

quellish

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Ah! Now all becomes clear :) Thank you VTOLicious. The aeroplane is a scale 'Fox' (an aerobatic sailplane) and the tubes are the propulsion. They would appear to work in the same way that workshop 'air multipliers' do (entrained airflow).

I suppose there's an advantage in no moving external fan faces / props but logic dictates there's a loss of efficiency (flow losses). Maybe swapping the high speed efflux of the turbine for a larger volume of lower speed air entrained through the tubes offsets some of these losses? Interesting nonetheless.

its a stand in for some of the very low signature work being done. Think Q-Star + Predator
 

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Also the propulsion is cold. There is some obvious localized heat exchange but nothing when compared to a turbine.
And the gas generator can be more efficiently buried in the hull (propulsion is pressure driven instead of by the exhaust speed).
 

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Also the propulsion is cold. There is some obvious localized heat exchange but nothing when compared to a turbine.
And the gas generator can be more efficiently buried in the hull (propulsion is pressure driven instead of by the exhaust speed).
This is a good point.

Perhaps this kind of propulsive system can be part of a distributed propulsion system for VTOL or super STOL flight phases with a different system optimised for the cruise part of the deal. It would be interesting to see how something like this would fit with some of the Rutan projects looking at SF insertion.
 

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The Ryan XV-5 used gas driven lift fans and appeared to work very well. If the gas could be used directly, things get lighter, simpler etc. Gut feeling says that you'd need more gas but having one slightly larger turbine would be better than the complexity and weight (weight outboard not good for roll response etc) of the lift fans. Controls become simpler too...

Bit of an edit - beware of re-inventing the XFV-12! ;)
 

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