FLIGHTS COULD ENABLE TALK-BY-LIGHT
COMMUNICATIONS US researchers are examining how turbulence around an aircraft affects laser transmissions. Funded by the US Department of Defense, the University of Notre Dame's Center for Flow Physics and Controls Aero-Optics is to record and analyse laser movement between aircraft to study turbulence effects. "The research is expected to pave the way for speed-of-light, free-space communications that would occur between aircraft, aircraft-to-ground, and aircraft-to-satellites," says Notre Dame. Michigan-based Riley Aviation is providing a Cessna Citation I and Citation II for test flights.
MICROFIBRE KEEPS FUEL SPILLS AT BAY
BIO-INSPIRED The water-repellant surface of lotus leaves has inspired development an oil-repellent microfibre fabric that could protect aircraft parts from fuel spills. Development of the material at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with US Air Force funding, also created a deposition process for the microfibre, called electrospinning. The microfibre, which contains fluorinated nanoparticles, could also be used for fuel-line gaskets as these can swell substantially when they absorb fuel.
USAF WANTS TO KNOW WHAT ENEMY IS THINKING
PREDICTION Data fusion enabling the prediction of an adversary's next move is the goal of a new $49.9 million US Air Force Research Laboratory project. Arguing that today's situational awareness tools are tactical and reactive, AFRL wants to create a strategic and preemptive capability by combining sensor and intelligence data from many platforms into near real-time information that can be used to predict adversaries' actions. A draft request for proposals for the 60-month contract was released in January.
MOSCOW'S CIAM TO TEST BELGIAN MODULE
COMPRESSOR Safran's Belgian subsidiary Techspace Aero has developed an engine module that combines the low-pressure compressor together with the fan, intermediate casing and sump as part of the European Union's four-year, €91 million ($133 million) VITAL programme. The module is to be tested at theCentral Institute of Aviation Motors in Moscow. Techspace Aero's partners in the module's development were software company GDTech, Cenearo and the von Karman Institute.
AI SYSTEM COULD AUTOMATE BATTLEFIELD ATC
AIRSPACE After the successful "go/no-go" test of an artificial-intelligence system to help air traffic controllers deconflict congested airspace, a Lockheed Martin-led team is to proceed into the 12-month, $5.2 million second phase of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Generalized Integrated Learning Architecture (GILA) programme to enable the automation of battlefield airspace management. "Eventually [GILA] will outperform the novice human planner by 125% while giving the inexperienced user an embedded, accelerated training capability," says Lockheed. Increased use of unmanned air vehicles in combination with manned aicraft is expected to complicate airspace management in future.
Source: Flight International