The development of the future unmanned aggressor fighter of the USAF advances

The United States Air Force (USAF) advances in the development of its future fifth-generation unmanned fighter. named as Fury, The autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) seeks to become a valid option for the training and preparation of future pilots occupying the role called “aggressor”. To date, these missions are carried out by aircraft adapted for said purpose belonging to the force or through private companies that offer such services.

F-16 Aggressor of the 18th Aggressor Squadron of the United States Air Force

The design and development of the Fury is framed within the project called “Bandit promoted by the Aerospace Systems Directorate of the United States Air Force Research Laboratory (known as AFRL for its acronym in English). Its broad objective is the development of an autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to fulfill the role of aggressor in training missions.. As officially announced by the USAF, its implementation in the near future would allow these tasks to be carried out at a fraction of the current cost.

Among the latest milestones in the Fury YFQ-XX development program, the AFRL awarded Blue Force Technologies a contract worth USD 9,000,000 in March 2022. Through this contract, the small company The aerospace department must mature the design of the unmanned aerial vehicle that future pilots will use to train in simulated combat. Provided a solution that integrates requirements such as autonomy, sensors and various types of load configuration according to the mission; aiming to revolutionize this kind of opponent training. The initiative has the potential to be extended to other branches of the United States Armed Forces, such as the Navy (US Navy) and the Marine Corps (USMC).

Continuing what was reported last year, over a period of 12 months, the company Blue Force Technologies “mature the vehicle design to a critical design level, conduct engine ground tests and validate the engine installation design under the technical guidance of AFRL subject matter experts. Options under this contract, if exercised, will complete design and engineering tasks, produce up to four air vehicles, and complete initial flight testing.”.

It is within this framework that the company reported the latest advances in the development and ground tests of the Fury. Thus, on January 25, A ground test for the innovative carbon fiber composite propulsion flow system was successfully completed. Expressing in its official statement that “AFRL, in collaboration with BFT, is exploring the value of digital engineering to speed up ground and flight testing by leveraging artifacts generated through digital analysis as proof of capability. This ground test provided high-fidelity data that will be used in computational method validation in the coming months.”.

In addition, the execution of the tests allowed various computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analyzes to be carried out, taking advantage of the data processing capacity of the USAF AFRL; also in collaboration with the Center for Research and Development of Engineers of the Army of the United States (US Army). These data collected will allow the design to mature, covering other issues to work on the Fury, such as its flight envelope.. Thanks to the data collected used in this model used for ground tests, Blue Force Technologies will advance in the manufacture of the version of the unmanned aircraft destined to carry out the required test flights.

The Bandit program is all about demonstrating increasingly stringent model-to-hardware prototyping development cycles for collaborative autonomous platforms, and this integrated propulsion flow test is indicative of that approach. After making the engine selection in June 2022, the AFRL and Blue Force Technologies team worked to finalize the test objectives and procedures concurrently with the Blue Force hardware build to ensure this full-scale test would be conducted in less than six monthssaid Alyson Turri, US Air Force AFRL Bandit program manager.

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