Integrating Emerging Technologies
project name

Integrating Emerging Technologies

For the USAF


Research to reduce the sensitive of primary flight control systems (FCS) exposed to high energy directed threats

Problem Statement
Ingenium Aerospace was asked to take a proven actuation platform with known performance and integrate emerging technologies into a benchtop control system with a modified actuator and brass board controller. The goal of this effort was to validate the potential capability to use emerging technologies in future flight control system and mitigate exposure to high energy directed threats. The technologies tested included optical position sensing and commutation, optical voltage and current sensors, laser-driven H bridge brushless DC motor gate driver, fiber optic cable plant and connectors, and an optical data pipe. The Air Force desired to have a technology readiness level (TRL) assessment and recommendations to enhance the TRL for each of the individual technologies.

Ingenium Aerospace was contracted to act as a system integrator for Wright Patterson Air Force Base to support the validation and expansion of the TRL for several emerging technologies previously funded under small business innovative research (SBIR) or broad agency announcement (BAA) contracts. Ingenium’s team of control systems experts created relationships with each of the companies whose technology was being studied to understand the technologies and provide a baseline report. Coupled with a plan to create the brass board system to demonstrate performance, the report was delivered and presented before work began.  Ingenium modified the baseline actuator, created the brass board, and wrote all the code associated with controlling the individual components. In addition, Ingenium created the integrated system for command and control including loop closure.  The team demonstrated 10 Hz small amplitude, closed loop frequency response with over 6,000 lbs. of output load, closely matching the benchmark actuator with known performance. Ingenium performed all testing and prepared the final report.

CaseStudy16-bResults & Outcome
Ingenium Aerospace was able to manage and complete this effort for the United States Air Force, developing the brass board and integrating all the requested emerging technologies. Results demonstrated equivalent primary flight control performance on the bench and Ingenium also provided recommendations for expanding the TRL levels of each emerging technology beyond a TRL of 4. The results were achieved on time and within the program budget.