The days of long serpentine intakes are coming to a close

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Message posted by Smythers (Member since 04/27/2023) on July 10, 2023 at 6:26:44 PST:

We all know that to lower the RCS of our aircraft, we need to shield the face of the powerplant from all radar beams. That is a given. To do this right now, we use 'S' ducting (as well as materials) that are very much a space eating monster as they sweep in and up before presenting the air to the engines.

Imagine then if we could shorten that intake 60 to 80%, and get an even better RCS reduction, as well as creating the absolute optimal peak airflow in a well controlled stable manner.

Step forwards then a team from a trio of US Universities that have created just this with nothing bar an additive mix printer and an AI system used to create music. Yes, music. Audiophiles have just created a breakthrough that has puzzled even the best propulsion minds.

Here is how it works.

Air come to the front of the intake, and instead of one cavernous hole (F22 et al), there are hundreds of thousands of tiny trumpet-like fluting intakes, with each of these fluting routes designed specifically by the AI to create a perfect airflow no matter how convoluted it appears inside the device (and it looks absolutely insane inside, absolutely wild. If you looked at the block without knowing what you were looking at? you would think that it was some chaotic ant farm). The powerplant gets stable, uninterrupted airflow at all angles of attack and attitude.

Quite literally the intake treats air as sound, and always delivers from 0 to mach 2.8. Now for the good part.

As the flutes are all designed with composites, they act as a solid wall to longer wavelengths (akin to the F-117 inlets), and to X-band, they just act as a permanent one way street.

And it is all thanks to a group of audiophiles who wanted the ability to have perfectly flat planes to their music no matter how or where they were.

Sounds cool, because it is.


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