Tech

June 18, 2014

Experimental HiMAT aircraft has new home at NASA Armstrong

The HiMAT subscale research aircraft, seen here during a research flight in December 1980, demonstrated advanced fighter technologies that have been used in the development of many modern high performance military aircraft.

From mid-1979 to January 1983, two remotely piloted, experimental Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology) aircraft were flown at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center ñ now the Armstrong Flight Research Center – at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to develop high-performance fighter technologies that would be applied to later aircraft.

The sub-scale HiMAT aircraft were about half the size of an F-16 and had nearly twice the fighter’s turning capability.

Now, one of the two HiMAT vehicles occupies a place of honor in a newly landscaped courtyard in front of the center’s Integrated Support Facility, the structure that houses the center’s visitor center and gift shop, cafeteria, auditorium and security offices. Mounted on its skid-type landing gear on three concrete supports, the freshly refurbished research aircraft appears ready to jump back into flight ñ if only someone would start its long-gone engine.

HiMAT experiments provided information on integrated, computerized controls; design features such as aeroelastic tailoring, close-coupled canards and winglets; the application of new composite materials; a digital integrated propulsion control system and the interaction of these then-new technologies with one another.

Appearing as if it were ready to take to the air again after a lapse of more than 31 years, NASA’s HiMAT sub-scale remotely operated research aircraft now graces the newly landscaped courtyard in front the Integrated Support Facility at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center.

The HiMAT plane’s rear-mounted swept wings, digital flight control system, and forward controllable canard made the plane’s turn radius twice as tight as that of conventional fighter planes. At near the speed of sound and at an altitude of 25,000 feet, the HiMAT vehicle could sustain an 8-G turn, producing acceleration equal to eight times that of gravity. By comparison, at the same altitude, an F-16’s maximum sustained turning capability at the same altitude and airspeed is about 4.5 Gs.

HiMAT research at NASA Dryden was conducted jointly by NASA and the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Because the planes were controlled from a ground station, experimental technologies and high-risk maneuverability tests could be employed without endangering pilots. The aircraft were flown 26 times during the program’s 3Ω-year history.

NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., and NASA Dryden partnered with the contractor, Rockwell International’s North American Aircraft division, in the design of the HiMAT aircraft.

NASA research test pilot Bill Dana controls the remotely operated HiMAT sub-scale research aircraft from a ground control station during a 1979 flight.

The HiMAT aircraft were 23.5 feet long and had a wingspan of just less than 16 feet. They were powered by a General Electric J-85-21 turbojet, which produced 5,000 pounds of static thrust at sea level. At launch from the center’s now-retired NB-52B mothership, the HiMAT planes weighed 4,030 pounds including 660 pounds of fuel. They had a top speed of Mach 1.4 — 1.4 times the speed of sound. About 30 percent of the materials used to construct the aircraft were experimental composites, mainly fiberglass and graphite-epoxy.

The other HiMAT aircraft is on display in the “Beyond the Limits” gallery at the National Air and Space Museum on the Capitol Mall in Washington, D.C.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines November 21, 2014

News: Dempsey lays groundwork for larger 2016 defense budget - The top U.S. military official on Wednesday made the case for growing the base defense budget significantly over the $535 billion spending cap imposed by Congress for fiscal 2015.   Business: Boeing can bill $61 million that Pentagon withheld for months - The Pentagon withheld $60.5 million...
 
 

News Briefs November 21, 2014

Obama aide: U.S. should look at Ukraine military aid A senior aide of President Barack Obama says he believes the U.S. should consider giving Ukraine lethal, defensive military assistance to get Russia to think twice about its destabilizing behavior. Tony Blinken, the deputy national security adviser, cites serious violations by Russia of agreements not to...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Divine Cox

Kunsan AB hosts Exercise Max Thunder 14-2

Air Force photograph by SrA. Divine Cox A South Korean air force F-15 Strike Eagle lands Nov. 17, 2014, during Max Thunder 14-2 at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy personnel and aircraft...
 

 
LM-facility

Lockheed Martin opens Surface Navy Innovation Center

Lockheed Martin has opened the Surface Navy Innovation Center in Moorestown, N.J., to support the development of new technologies for the U.S. Navy. The SNIC is a research, development and demonstration facility that brings tog...
 
 
raytheon-test

Raytheon successfully demonstrates integrated electronic warfare capabilities

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Raytheon, in collaboration with the U.S. Navy, successfully demonstrated an end to end, first of its kind, integrated electronic attack system during flight tests at the Naval Air Weapons Station Chi...
 
 

Three bases identified as F-16 aggressor candidate bases

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford Jr. A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron lands at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 6 during RED FLAG-Alaska 15-1. RF-A is a series of Pacific Air Forces commander-directed field training exercises for U.S. and partner nation...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>