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 July 21, 2014

News: IDF releases Iron Dome interception rate - Israel’s Iron Dome system has successfully intercepted 86 percent of the Palestinian rockets that it has engaged during Operation ‘Protective Edge’, according to the Israel Defense Forces.   Business: The turnaround of France’s defense giant Thales - Within seconds of meeting Jean-Bernard Levy it becomes apparent that h...
 
 

News Briefs July 21, 2014

Corruption investigated in Kansas National Guard The Kansas Adjutant General’s office says federal authorities are investigating possible corruption involving outside medical companies’ contracts with the Kansas Army National Guard. Sharon Watson, spokeswoman for the adjutant general’s office, confirmed the investigation Friday to The Lawrence Journal-World but declined to rel...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

B61 undergoes testing in AEDC wind tunnel

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend Arnold Engineering Development Complex engineers recently joined researchers with Sandia National Laboratories to perform a wind tunnel test on a full-scale mock-up B61. Pictured with the...
 

 
Army photograph by Charles Kennedy

New CT scanner finds diverse, important uses for researchers

Army photograph by Charles Kennedy Turning a now-standard tool for medical diagnostics and therapeutics to a host of new applications, the U. S. Army Research Laboratory’s Survivability/Lethality Analysis Directorate rece...
 
 

Ingalls Shipbuilding awarded $23.5 million LHA 8 affordability contract

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division has been awarded an affordability design contract for $23.5 million for early industry involvement to reduce the construction and life-cycle cost for the amphibious assault ship LHA 8. “Ingalls Shipbuilding has been constructing large-deck amphibious ships for nearly 50 years, and this contract will build on our company...
 
 
Marine Corps photograph

DOD identifies missing World War II Marine

Marine Corps photograph Marines wounded during the landing on Tarawa in November 1943 are towed out on rubber boats to larger vessels that will take them to base hospitals. The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office...
 




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>