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Posted: 3/23/2006 8:32:26 AM EDT
Northrop Grumman Selected by U.S. Department of Defense to Design First-Ever Supersonic 'Oblique Flying Wing' Aircraft




EL SEGUNDO, Calif., March 23, 2006 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has been selected by the U.S. Department of Defense to design the first-ever supersonic flying wing aircraft that can vary the sweep of its wing for the most efficient flight performance.


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector for the first phase of its Oblique Flying Wing (OFW) program, which aims to design and conduct flight tests of an experimental tailless, supersonic, variable-sweep flying wing. DARPA's goal is to demonstrate that such aircraft are feasible so that similar designs can be considered for future military missions.

"The selection of Northrop Grumman for the Oblique Flying Wing program recognizes our long tradition of innovation and technical ability," said Charlie Guthrie, director of Advanced Capabilities Development for Integrated Systems' Western Region. "We look forward to working with DARPA and its government team to make aviation history."

The oblique flying wing would vary its wing sweep (the angle of the wing's leading edge relative to the direction of flight) depending on its speed. At low speeds the wing sweep is relatively low, providing an efficient aerodynamic design. At high speeds the wing is highly swept, reducing supersonic wave drag.

The supersonic design envisioned by the OFW program offers potential benefits for missions requiring rapid deployment, long range and long endurance. In theory, an oblique flying wing could maximize its performance in every flight regime: takeoff or landing, high or low altitude, supersonic or subsonic speed.

During the program's first phase, which will conclude in November 2007, Northrop Grumman will conduct technology maturation to reduce the risk of the critical technologies associated with its OFW concepts and develop a preliminary design for the experimental aircraft. DARPA is providing funding of $10.3 million for this phase.

The preliminary design effort could be followed by a second phase to finalize the design, then build an experimental aircraft and flight test it. First flight of this "X-plane" is envisioned in 2010 or 2011.

With a "system-of-systems" approach, the Advanced Capabilities Development group at Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems brings world-class capabilities in system design, air-vehicle design, flight controls, vehicle management systems, network-enabling technologies and survivability. It also leverages other capabilities from across Northrop Grumman to offer innovative future solutions that meet emerging customer needs.


At low speeds, the Oblique Flying Wing demonstrator will fly with low sweep, resulting in long range and endurance capabilities. The engines can be seen under the center of the flying wing. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)


At high speeds, variable sweep will allow the aircraft to be optimized for supersonic flight. As shown in the photo, the right wing will sweep forward and the left wing will sweep back in the high speed configuration. Note the engines under the center of the wing. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)



Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:36:32 AM EDT
That is the strangest looking thing I've seen in a long time.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:38:18 AM EDT
And the point is....
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:40:14 AM EDT
wow they're making a big one now
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:42:42 AM EDT
That's pretty weird. I remember seeing something similar at Ames Research Center back in the late 70's, but it wasn't a flying wing. It was an oblique wing aircraft, though. IIRC, it used an F-104 fuselage.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:48:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FITTER:
That's pretty weird. I remember seeing something similar at Ames Research Center back in the late 70's, but it wasn't a flying wing. It was an oblique wing aircraft, though. IIRC, it used an F-104 fuselage.



you're talking about this guy

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:52:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:
And the point is....



Ya, what is the point of this new thing? What does it do?
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:53:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:
And the point is....




The oblique flying wing would vary its wing sweep (the angle of the wing's leading edge relative to the direction of flight) depending on its speed. At low speeds the wing sweep is relatively low, providing an efficient aerodynamic design. At high speeds the wing is highly swept, reducing supersonic wave drag.

The supersonic design envisioned by the OFW program offers potential benefits for missions requiring rapid deployment, long range and long endurance. In theory, an oblique flying wing could maximize its performance in every flight regime: takeoff or landing, high or low altitude, supersonic or subsonic speed.

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 9:24:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Napoleon_Tanerite:

Originally Posted By FITTER:
That's pretty weird. I remember seeing something similar at Ames Research Center back in the late 70's, but it wasn't a flying wing. It was an oblique wing aircraft, though. IIRC, it used an F-104 fuselage.



you're talking about this guy

www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/images/content/105945main_AD-1_330.jpg



Exactly right. I must have thought at the time that it was made from an F-104, but now I don't think it was. Maybe just the canopy, I don't know. I found this:

www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/FactSheets/FS-019-DFRC.html
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 9:30:32 AM EDT
I think Scaled Composites built one too...
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 9:31:09 AM EDT
nice computer graphic of a plane.... I don't like it when companies do that, to make it look like they have something flying.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 9:54:21 AM EDT

Originally Posted By guns762:

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:
And the point is....



Ya, what is the point of this new thing? What does it do?



It costs us lots and lots of money.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 9:57:33 AM EDT
Is this thing manned or unmanned?
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:33:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By MonkeyGrip:
Is this thing manned or unmanned?



It had better be unmanned, stealth, bulletproof and made out of solid gold, because I guarantee you we'll be spending enough on it that it could be.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:49:03 AM EDT
I was wondering what they were doing with the engine pods from retired B-52s!
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 11:00:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By verticalgain:

Originally Posted By guns762:

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:
And the point is....



Ya, what is the point of this new thing? What does it do?



It costs us lots and lots of money.



You are the same guy that said "Why would I want to send information from one computer to another?" back in the 70s... Fess up!
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 11:10:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Sub-MOA:

Originally Posted By verticalgain:

Originally Posted By guns762:

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:
And the point is....



Ya, what is the point of this new thing? What does it do?



It costs us lots and lots of money.



You are the same guy that said "Why would I want to send information from one computer to another?" back in the 70s... Fess up!



What will this do for us that we can't do with what we have? If we had the will to use the ICBM's we have and stay out of conflicts not worthy of a nuke we'd be a lot better off.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 11:21:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By verticalgain:

What will this do for us that we can't do with what we have? If we had the will to use the ICBM's we have and stay out of conflicts not worthy of a nuke we'd be a lot better off.



Let's go back to using sticks and rocks.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 11:26:18 AM EDT
Looks like JD Jone's spirit got to the DARPA folks, but then, it is DARPA.

I bet Jack Northrop (founder of Northrop) is turning in his grave.

The NASA aircraft that was built back in the 70s is called AD-1 (Ames, Dryden-1), and the final report of the series of flight test indicates that it was very difficult to control, and recommend the airframe to be used for the study of unstable flight platform.

The idea or oblique wing is to fly at low sonic speed with minimal drag cause by breaking the "sonic barrier", reduction of sonic boom effect, and have a high aspect ratio wing for take-off landing, and sub-sonic flight. The problem is the A/C flys at M=1.05, supersonic, but not much faster than A/C flying at M=0.8 at lower altitude. On top of that, JD Jones, (aerodynamicist who develop the concept) had his control equation wrong. (I did the research of the oblique wing concept a few years ago)

Good luck with NG-ACD. We at LM-ADP are glad they won this program.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 11:28:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By leungken:
Looks like JD Jone's spirit got to the DARPA folks, but then, it is DARPA.

I bet Jack Northrop (founder of Northrop) is turning in his grave.

The NASA aircraft that was built back in the 70s is called AD-1 (Ames, Dryden-1), and the final report of the series of flight test indicates that it was very difficult to control, and recommend the airframe to be used for the study of unstable flight platform.

The idea or oblique wing is to fly at low sonic speed with minimal drag cause by breaking the "sonic barrier", reduction of sonic boom effect, and have a high aspect ratio wing for take-off landing, and sub-sonic flight. The problem is the A/C flys at M=1.05, supersonic, but not much faster than A/C flying at M=0.8 at lower altitude. On top of that, JD Jones, (aerodynamicist who develop the concept) had his control equation wrong. (I did the research of the oblique wing concept a few years ago)

Good luck with NG-ACD. We at LM-ADP are glad they won this program.



I'm curious to your thoughts on "morphing wing" studies/tech as being viable.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 11:34:29 AM EDT
Looks kinda ghey to me...
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 11:42:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By verticalgain:

What will this do for us that we can't do with what we have?



It’s the most efficient design available for a broad range of flight characteristics. Think high lift at low speed and low drag at high speed. If we can get a variable geometry design like this to work well, it will see applications in every aircraft built for the next five or six decades.


Example: Think about a UAV that takes off from someplace in Kansas, cruses for 3 or 4 hours out to someplace over the pacific and then makes a 10,000 MPH sprint across China and then slows down again to land on some island. Can't do that with today’s tech; fuel consumption is too high, drag is too high, thermal problems tear stuff apart.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 11:45:28 AM EDT
Is this designed to be a UAV?
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 11:51:11 AM EDT

I'm curious to your thoughts on "morphing wing" studies/tech as being viable.


We based an A/C design on mission, not concept, not theory.

The little I know about "morphing wing" design is an A/C which can change its wing shape (aspect ration, sweep), based on the mission needs. It can have a high aspect ratio wing during cruise and lottering, and low apsect sweep back wing during high speed penetration or attack.

Interesting concept, but execution is difficult, because every mechanism that is added to an A/C, we pay with both weight and structural issue. Sometimes these issues cannot be re-solved. More importantly is, can the same mission be fulfilled with a fixed wing geometry A/C?

We already are flying or have flown a form of "morphing wing" A/C, they are known as variable geometry or sweep wing (B-1, F-111, F-14, Tornado, Russian Backfire, Mig and Su). F-111 even experimented with variable camber.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 11:53:12 AM EDT
By clicking on this thread you have just activated the government's tracking device installed in your skull.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 11:53:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Sub-MOA:

Originally Posted By verticalgain:

What will this do for us that we can't do with what we have?



It’s the most efficient design available for a broad range of flight characteristics. Think high lift at low speed and low drag at high speed. If we can get a variable geometry design like this to work well, it will see applications in every aircraft built for the next five or six decades.


Example: Think about a UAV that takes off from someplace in Kansas, cruses for 3 or 4 hours out to someplace over the pacific and then makes a 10,000 MPH sprint across China and then slows down again to land on some island. Can't do that with today’s tech; fuel consumption is too high, drag is too high, thermal problems tear stuff apart.


Precisely, pulse propulsion technology. The act you describe above has already been successfully done. Hopefully, no clintonista type president will be next and just sell it away for the sake of parity.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:45:30 PM EDT

Originally Posted By leungken:

I'm curious to your thoughts on "morphing wing" studies/tech as being viable.


We based an A/C design on mission, not concept, not theory.

The little I know about "morphing wing" design is an A/C which can change its wing shape (aspect ration, sweep), based on the mission needs. It can have a high aspect ratio wing during cruise and lottering, and low apsect sweep back wing during high speed penetration or attack.

Interesting concept, but execution is difficult, because every mechanism that is added to an A/C, we pay with both weight and structural issue. Sometimes these issues cannot be re-solved. More importantly is, can the same mission be fulfilled with a fixed wing geometry A/C?

We already are flying or have flown a form of "morphing wing" A/C, they are known as variable geometry or sweep wing (B-1, F-111, F-14, Tornado, Russian Backfire, Mig and Su). F-111 even experimented with variable camber.





Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:49:00 PM EDT
Are we just now starting to get some ROI from our Nazi scientists?

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:49:06 PM EDT
I've seen those in New Mexico over 50 years ago. But it is cool to see photos of them in day light.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:52:54 PM EDT

Originally Posted By leungken:
Looks like JD Jone's spirit got to the DARPA folks, but then, it is DARPA.

I bet Jack Northrop (founder of Northrop) is turning in his grave.

The NASA aircraft that was built back in the 70s is called AD-1 (Ames, Dryden-1), and the final report of the series of flight test indicates that it was very difficult to control, and recommend the airframe to be used for the study of unstable flight platform.

The idea or oblique wing is to fly at low sonic speed with minimal drag cause by breaking the "sonic barrier", reduction of sonic boom effect, and have a high aspect ratio wing for take-off landing, and sub-sonic flight. The problem is the A/C flys at M=1.05, supersonic, but not much faster than A/C flying at M=0.8 at lower altitude. On top of that, JD Jones, (aerodynamicist who develop the concept) had his control equation wrong. (I did the research of the oblique wing concept a few years ago)

Good luck with NG-ACD. We at LM-ADP are glad they won this program.


This is where people outside the loop post this:

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:24:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 1:25:26 PM EDT by KA3B]

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:
This is where people outside the loop post this:



Northrop Grumman - Advanced Capabilities Development
Lockheed Martin (Skunk Works) - Advanced Development Programs
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:31:44 PM EDT
Cole

They are our actual flying R/C version of the aircraft.

First picture is the attack shape, the second is the loitering shape.


This is where people outside the loop post this:


OKAY, in English:
JD Jones, a PhD in aerodynamics, develop the concept of the oblique wing aircraft, back in the 20-30's.
Jack Northrop, founder on Northrop, once called JD Jones a "Nut" case for his oblique wing concept. Northrop himself was being considered a "Nut" himself because he is pushing the flying wing concept. It is ironic that Northrop Grumman wind up building JD Jone's oblique flying wing.

The advantage offer by the oblique flying wing does not balance out the disadvantage, especially the control issue, extra structural weight plus mechanisms to rotate the engine mount.

The design is very limited in term of supersonic speed. Ground speed wise, the oblique wing might fly faster than a conventional jet by maybe 50 to 70 mph or 10% faster.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:42:31 PM EDT
The purpose of the oblique wing is to increase the critical Mach number of the wing. That alone does not mean the airplane is supersonic, although that appears to be part of this airplane's mission.

Well, I guess that's going to free up a few more folks here to work on other things, mostly helping Seattle.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:46:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 1:46:51 PM EDT by COLE-CARBINE]

Originally Posted By leungken:
Cole

They are our actual flying R/C version of the aircraft.

First picture is the attack shape, the second is the loitering shape.


This is where people outside the loop post this:


OKAY, in English:
JD Jones, a PhD in aerodynamics, develop the concept of the oblique wing aircraft, back in the 20-30's.
Jack Northrop, founder on Northrop, once called JD Jones a "Nut" case for his oblique wing concept. Northrop himself was being considered a "Nut" himself because he is pushing the flying wing concept. It is ironic that Northrop Grumman wind up building JD Jone's oblique flying wing.

The advantage offer by the oblique flying wing does not balance out the disadvantage, especially the control issue, extra structural weight plus mechanisms to rotate the engine mount.

The design is very limited in term of supersonic speed. Ground speed wise, the oblique wing might fly faster than a conventional jet by maybe 50 to 70 mph or 10% faster.



Lock-Mart seems to be looking fairly hard at "morphing" planes. I also like the Cormorant idea for the SSGN.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:56:38 PM EDT
UAV seems to open up a bunch of possibilities, since we do not need to fit the airframe around a 6' 200 pound pilot plus his/her equipment and gear, and the computer and control system can be distributed among the airframe, and ther A/C need not to be man rated.

Morphing is one idea, which airframes can be better fit for a wider variety of mission. There are other concepts up in our sleeves.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 2:26:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By leungken:
UAV seems to open up a bunch of possibilities, since we do not need to fit the airframe around a 6' 200 pound pilot plus his/her equipment and gear, and the computer and control system can be distributed among the airframe, and ther A/C need not to be man rated.

Morphing is one idea, which airframes can be better fit for a wider variety of mission. There are other concepts up in our sleeves.



You can tell us, we promise not to say anything.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 2:34:48 PM EDT
Thats a lot of wing to get past mach.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 6:55:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By leungken:
UAV seems to open up a bunch of possibilities, since we do not need to fit the airframe around a 6' 200 pound pilot plus his/her equipment and gear, and the computer and control system can be distributed among the airframe, and ther A/C need not to be man rated.

Morphing is one idea, which airframes can be better fit for a wider variety of mission. There are other concepts up in our sleeves.



"No need to be man rated" for UAV's is a wive's tale; they still must posses sufficient structural integrity and systems reliablilty that they can be flown over populated regions without fear of crashing into a pre-school or the midst of the garden club.

The airworthiness requirements are not relaxed for unmanned vehicles.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:55:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:
And the point is....



...to put the word "catywampus" back in popular military jargon, of course!
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 8:03:32 PM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 12:03:03 AM EDT

"No need to be man rated" for UAV's is a wive's tale; they still must posses sufficient structural integrity and systems reliablilty that they can be flown over populated regions without fear of crashing into a pre-school or the midst of the garden club.

The airworthiness requirements are not relaxed for unmanned vehicles.



Air worthiness is different from man-rated requirements, and that is all I have to say.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 1:14:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By leungken:

"No need to be man rated" for UAV's is a wive's tale; they still must posses sufficient structural integrity and systems reliablilty that they can be flown over populated regions without fear of crashing into a pre-school or the midst of the garden club.

The airworthiness requirements are not relaxed for unmanned vehicles.



Air worthiness is different from man-rated requirements, and that is all I have to say.



That's splitting hairs, just slightly.

Wrong, too.
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