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New Remotely Piloted Vehicle Launch and Recovery Concepts - Analysis, Preliminary Design and Performance/Cost Trade Studies

Report Number: AFFDL TR 79-3069 Volume I
Author(s): S. J. Baumgartner; J. G. Brister; V. K. Rajpaul; R. F. Yurczyk
Corporate Author: Boeing Aerospace Company
Laboratory: Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory
Date of Publication: 1979-06
Pages: 258
Contract: F33615-78-C-3404
Project: 2402
Task: 240201
AD Number: ADA077475

Abstract:
Dynamic analysis, preliminary design, and performance/cost trade studies of air bag skid and air cushion concepts for launch and recovery of Boeing and Rockwell advanced RPV concepts have been conducted. Dynamic analysis was performed using the six degree-of-freedom computer program EASY. Dynamic simulations included perturbations to steady state flight, landing, and takeoff simulations. Launch and recovery concepts investigated were air bag skid system, air cushion recovery system, integrated air cushion system, and air cushion launch platform. Performance/cost trade study factors investigated were complexity, fuel requirements, adverse weather capability, ground equipment and facility requirements, survivability/vulnerability, reliability and maintainability, and system acquisition and life cycle costs. Results of the study indicated that an air cushion system is a feasible means of recovery of an RPV such as the Boeing and Rockwell ARPV concepts. An air bag skid with an arrestor system is a feasible approach when minimum field length is a major design factor. Integrated air cushion system for launch and recovery are greatly affected by engine characteristics. In each case, the launch and recovery systems are shown to be an integral part of the total vehicle design and strongly influences the airframe design.

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