Smiths Aerospace is making progress with validation of its hose and drogue stabilisation technology for autonomous aerial refuelling.

A series of tests, the latest successfully completed last week, is being conducted at the University of Michigan's Low Turbulence Wind Tunnel facility.

Smiths has patents pending on the technology for the US and the UK. The company is developing autonomous refuelling capabilities using the hose and drogue technique for manned and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), including unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs). "Our stabilisation technology has the potential to revolutionise the probe and drogue refuelling technique," says John Ferrie, president of Smiths Aerospace. "We have exploited innovation and technology to solve an old problem in aeriel refuelling."

The technique will apply to new and existing tankers that use hose and drogue refuelling technology. Smiths is collaborating with major airframe manufacturers to provide essential technologies for refuelling UAVs and UCAVs.

Smiths is teamed with Boeing to study boom and receptacle technologies, concentrating on the probe and drogue system with common technologies shared.

Source: Flight Daily News