2Aerodynamics of UAV Configurations

Pascual Marqués

Marques Aviation Ltd, Southport, UK

2.1 Introduction

This chapter illustrates special aerodynamic principles that apply to a diversity of UAV configurations:

  • emerging technologies in UAV aerodynamics
  • aerodynamics and stealth compromises
  • rotor blade tip aerodynamics
  • flight dynamics of canard aircraft
  • aerodynamics of the UCAV 1303 delta‐wing configuration
  • flow structure modification using plasma actuators.

2.2 Emerging Technologies in UAV Aerodynamics

Novel UAV technologies have enabled innovative airframe concepts to be introduced, for reasons of fuel efficiency, aircraft‐noise signature attenuation and reduced maintenance costs. New aerodynamic technologies prioritise flow control and flapless designs in place of traditional hinged control surfaces. The new approaches give enhanced manoeuvrability, reduced wing structural weight and improved stealth. There have been interesting advances in blended wing–body (BWB) airframe design and flow‐control mechanisms for flapless flight control. A BWB aircraft consists of a modified delta design that blends the vehicle’s wing and body into a smooth configuration (Figure 2.1). The BWB concept offers promising advantages in structural, aerodynamic and operational efficiencies over conventional fuselage‐and‐wing designs, as well as reduced fuel costs and aircraft noise signature attenuation. The integration of flapless aerodynamic technologies in BWB aircraft is expected to play a crucial ...

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