European Antennas Case Study: Boeing X-48B Blended Wing Body
Antennas Ltd has supplied blade antennas to Cranfield Aerospace
for use on the Boeing X-48B Blended Wing Body (BWB) prototypes.
Cranfield Aerospace built and provided two complete uninhabited
airborne vehicles and a ground control station to Boeing in accordance
with requirements and specifications supplied by Phantom Works, Boeing’s
advanced R&D unit.
The Boeing/NASA/U.S. Air Force Research
Laboratory/Cranfield Aerospace team will soon begin ground testing its
concept in preparation for flight testing in early 2007, following earlier
successful wind tunnel testing carried out at NASA Langley.
to validate the structural, aerodynamic and operational advantages of
the BWB concept, the air vehicles are 8.5% scale models with a wingspan
of 6.4 metres and maximum take off mass of 230kgs. Flight characteristics
have been scaled to extrapolate full-scale dynamic behaviour in order
to learn more about the BWB’s low speed flight control characteristics,
particularly during take-off and landing.
The three models of
blade antenna supplied to Cranfield Aerospace by European Antennas have
omni-directional radiation pattern coverage. Weighing less than 20 grams,
they are robust and weatherproof and measure 105x30mm (4.1x1.2 inches)
and are 2.4mm (0.09inches) thin. Each antenna covers a different frequency
band and form part of the telecommand, telemetry, video and audio reception
These antennas met the specification from Cranfield
Aerospace in that the antennas should be light and small so that aerodynamics
would not be affected, and would function whilst the experimental aircraft
was being trialled in flight. It was critical to have 360 degree horizontal
coverage with maximum elevation pattern for optimized signal reception
at a fixed ground location irrespective of the aircraft’s location and
orientation. The attributes of European Antennas’ blade antennas are
well proven as they have previously been used on diverse and demanding
applications including WRC and Grand Prix race cars and UAVs.
European Antennas was able to provide dummy units for aerodynamic
testing within 3 weeks and final flight units within 8 weeks in order
to meet critical deadlines for Cranfield Aerospace.
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