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Design and Testing of Damage Tolerant Composite Airframe



Requirements for current and future aircraft platforms have moved the aerospace industry to the widespread adoption of lightweight composite structures as the basis of modern airframe design. Beyond the benefit of weight reduction, composites offer inherent fatigue and corrosion resistance, resulting in reduced routine maintenance and higher aircraft readiness rates. However to fully realize this potential, further improvements in durability and damage tolerance are being sought. This is especially true in the case of military platforms where service conditions are harsh and aircraft availability is at a premium. The Combat Tempered Platform Demonstration, being conducted by the U.S. Army Aviation Development Directorate – Aviation Applied Technology Directorate and Sikorsky Aircraft, is focused demonstrating an integrated platform solution that exemplifies both operational durability and total survivability. The project includes the demonstration of a lightweight, highly durable and damage tolerant airframe structure based on advanced composite design and construction methods. Integrated health management sensor system capable of detecting and monitoring structural damage were also incorporated to reduce the risk associated with adopting a damage tolerance approach. Additional structural life enhancement was achieved through the implementation of load reduction using load alleviating flight control laws. This research was partially funded by the U.S. Government under Agreement No. W911W6-12-2-0005. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Government purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation thereon. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the Aviation Development Directorate – Aviation Applied Technology Directorate or the U.S. Government.

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