Damage Tolerant

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has demonstrated the ability of an unmanned aircraft to continue flying even after the loss of a large portion of a wing, such as could occur from battle damage. Employing damage-tolerant flight control technology developed by Rockwell Collins, DARPA said in a June 13 release it completed a series of test runs in April with a sub-scale autonomous unmanned F/A-18 that culminated in the aircraft’s recovery from the loss of the majority of its right wing. The aircraft recovered from the damage within seconds and was able to restore most of the original flight quality and complete a “flawless autonomous touchdown.” DARPA said the next step is to integrate the damage tolerance into an operational US military UAV to show the maturity of the capability and the ease with which it can be fielded.