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A technique to predict the aerodynamic effects of battle damage on an aircraft's wing

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journal contribution
posted on 14.05.2015 by T.W. Pickhaver, Peter Render
A technique is developed that can be used to predict the effects of battle damage on the aerodynamic performance of an aircraft’s wing. The technique is based on results obtained from wind tunnel tests on a NASA LS(1)-0417MOD aerofoil with simulated gunfire damage. The wind tunnel model incorporated an internal cavity to represent typical aircraft construction and this was located between 24% and 75% of chord. The damage was simulated by circular holes with diameters between 20% and 40% of chord. To represent different attack directions, the inclination of the hole axis relative to the aerofoil chord was varied between ±60o pitch and 45o of roll. The aerofoil spanned the wind tunnel to create approximate two-dimensional conditions and balance measurements were carried out at a Reynolds number of 500,000 for incidences, increased in 2o increments, from -4o to 16o. Surface flow visualization and pressure measurements were also carried out. For a given hole size, the increments in lift, drag and pitching moment coefficients produced trends when plotted against the difference between the upper and lower surface pressure coefficients on the undamaged aerofoil taken at the location of the damage. These trends are used as the basis of the predictive technique. The technique is used to predict the effects of a previously untested damage case, and these are compared with wind tunnel tests carried out on a half model finite aspect ratio wing. For all coefficients the trends in the predicted data are similar to experiment, although there are some discrepancies in absolute values. For the drag coefficient these discrepancies are partly accounted for by limitations in the technique, whilst discrepancies in the lift and pitching moment coefficients are attributed to limitations in the aerofoil test arrangements.


This work has been supported by BAE Systems as part of their contribution to the European BaToLUS (Battle Damage Tolerance to Lightweight UAV Structures) project.



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering

Published in

The Aeronautical Journal


PICKHAVER, T.W. and RENDER, P.M., 2015. A technique to predict the aerodynamic effects of battle damage on an aircraft's wing. The Aeronautical Journal, 119(1217), pp.937-960.


© Royal Aeronautical Society


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/

Publication date



This paper was accepted for publication in the journal The Aeronautical Journal and the definitive published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0001924000004267







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