Lockheed to X-47B J-UCAS: Assume the Pole Position

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DID recently covered the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) UAV program, and the effects its ambitious requirements and quest for a new operating system might have on the project as a whole. As part of their system’s development, Lockheed has introduced an innovation to the traditional pole model process for radar signature testing et. al. X-47B UCAS Lockheed Martin’s life-size pole model was designed and built in less than 13 months and funded entirely with private R&D dollars. Lockheed points to “its modular and flexible configuration, allowing future large scale physical changes. This permits customers to easily modify the many pre-planned regions of the configuration and quickly collect high fidelity data. This means the pole model is now a design tool rather than simply a demonstration device.” Partners like X-47 project lead Northrop Grumman Corporation will use the test data to improve the low observable design of the X-47B, and the test-refine-retest process will be an iterative one. Pratt & Whitney is providing the entire inner structure of the exhaust module in later tests, which is an important aspect of the design’s stealth features. Testing of the X-47B’s radar cross section will occur in Lockheed Martin’s Helendale Measurement Facility […]

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