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Aircraft performance and survivability

The Aircraft Performance and Survivability branch conducts applied research in the broad disciplines of aerodynamics, aero-thermodynamics, and aerial autonomy.

These core disciplines underpin system-level performance and survivability modelling and innovation for aircraft flight and propulsion, infrared signatures, stores carriage and clearances, and uninhabited aerial systems.

Major outputs for this branch are in electronic warfare, intelligence, aerospace operational support and acquisition projects, in addition to strategic research programs in areas such as autonomy, energy and signatures.

The Aircraft Performance and Survivability branch relies upon several national test facilities, including the transonic wind tunnel, the low speed wind tunnel and the combustion test facility, to provide expert advice to Defence.

Aerial autonomous systems

Our Aerial Autonomous Systems group undertakes research on the application of Uninhabited Aerial Systems (UAS) in a military environment. This includes:

  • Trusted aerial autonomy
  • Novel UAS platform technologies
  • Support to acquisition
  • UAS flight trials are conducted for system validation.

Aerodynamics and flight mechanics

Our Aerodynamics and flight mechanics group conducts research into steady and unsteady fluid dynamics in flow regimes ranging from incompressible, subsonic, transonic, supersonic and hypersonic.

This research is applied to: fixed wing flight vehicles; submarines and surface vessels; aero-elastic and structural dynamic behaviour; flight dynamic behaviour; aircraft performance, weapon aerodynamics and integration.

Our infrastructure in this area includes:

  • national aerodynamic test facilities (Low speed and Transonic wind tunnels)
  • Water tunnel
  • deployable ground vibration capability
  • major computational hardware supporting a suite of fluid dynamic and aircraft performance software.

Infrared signatures and aerothermodynamics

Our Infrared Signatures and Aerothermodynamics group provides measurement and modelling of infrared signatures and low-observable technology for aircraft survivability.

The group generates validated infrared models for aircraft and missiles in support of the Airborne Countermeasures Development and Validation Program.

Work in this area also includes the assessment of aerothermodynamics of aircraft engines and power thermal management systems, in addition to experimentation in propulsion aerothermodynamics and infrared signatures.

Our infrastructure in this area includes:

  • thermal test precinct (Combustion test facility)
  • Infrared suppression test facility
  • compressor building and fuel farm
  • calibration and trials preparation laboratory
  • mobile infrared measurement laboratory
  • numerical modelling hardware and software

Key information

Areas of expertise

Aerial autonomous systems:

  • aeronautical, mechanical, electrical and systems engineering
  • human factors
  • autonomy
  • sensor physics
  • command and control

Aerodynamics and flight mechanics:

  • experimental fluid mechanics
  • aerodynamics, computational fluid dynamics and fluid structure interactions
  • flight dynamics, performance and simulation
  • flight test methods

Infrared signatures and aerothermodynamics:

  • convective and radiative heat transfer
  • radiation physics
  • combustion
  • propulsion and systems aerothermodynamics