The Techno-Sciences team and The University of Maryland (UMD) at College Park were awarded two commercial development contracts from the Bell/Boeing and Boeing Phantom Works teams to support DARPA?s Mission Adaptive Rotor (MAR) Program. U.S. rotorcraft technology has received funding from a Pentagon research program that aims to fly a shape-changing rotor offering substantially more payload and range with significantly less noise and vibration. The goal of MAR is a rotor that can change its configuration before a mission and in flight, between mission segments and with every revolution. The blades on an adaptive rotor could change their length, sweep, chord, camber, tip shape, twist, stiffness, rotational speed or other attributes.
MAR objectives are aggressive: increase payload by 30% and range by 40%, and reduce rotor acoustic-detection range by 50% and vibration by 90%, compared with a clean-sheet ?non-adaptive,? or conventional, rotor. Principal Investigator, Dr. Curt Kothera of Techno-Sciences, in collaboration with Prof. Wereley, the Techno-Sciences Professor of Aerospace Engineering, and his research group, will lead analyses and component-level evaluations of pneumatic morphing technologies for the Bell/Boeing next-generation tiltrotor aircraft and Boeing Phantom Work?s advanced, single-rotor attack helicopter. Vehicle integration and flight testing will follow over the next four years.
September 2, 2010