Sweden’s SAAB Aerospace has begun high-speed wind-tunnel testing of a model of the nEUROn unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV).
The 1:16-scale model is installed in the Forces Research Institute tunnel in Stockholm as part of the Swedish contribution to the nEUROn demonstrator programme. The programme involves high-speed testing up to the speed of sound.
Flight International UAV specialist Peter La Franci comments that comparison of the wind-tunnel photo with the mock-up unveiled at the 2005 Paris Air Show and with models displayed at the 2006 Eurosatory exhibition suggest that the air vehicle configuration now sports a less swept wing and a more distinct fuselage section. Earlier models and the mock-up both emphasised a fully blended wing body arrangement and a highly-swept wing.
Programme leader Dassault Aviation announced the design configuration freeze during 2006. However, the wind-tunnel pictures represent the first confirmation of the level of changes in the design.
Programme milestones so far include the preliminary wind-tunnel test in June 2005, followed by two low-speed tests at Emmen in Switzerland in 2006 in partnership with RUAG Aerospace. Three air intake tests were then carried out in 2006 and 2007 at the S2 ONERA tunnel at Modane in France, followed by a low-speed test in March 2007 at the F1 ONERA tunnel at Fauga, also in France.