Conceptual design of a reconfigureable multi-flight regime unmanned combat aerial vehicle
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The reconfiguration design framework applied to a high-speed unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) enables a single platform to perform across a wide flight regime with large differences in cruise conditions (Mach 0.5 – Mach 0.85). By using two sets of modular wings (high-speed and low-speed) with a common fuselage body and powerplant, reductions can be made in development and manufacturing costs. Traditional aircraft design methods were employed to determine initial wing geometries, while constraining the wing root geometry to both variants. Low fidelity calculations were used to calculate aerodynamic coefficients, lending themselves to selecting appropriate tip airfoils for both variants while sharing the same root airfoil. A simulation model of cruise conditions for each variant was created to evaluate aerodynamic performance in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software. Results show the low speed variant operates at peak performance during cruise. The high speed variant displayed normal shock wave formation in the spanwise direction. Future work includes adjustments to the wing geometry and airfoils, as well as shock wave interactions at the boundary layer.