ARA Research and Development Projects

This project, led and managed solely by the Aircraft Research Association (ARA) in Bedford was focused around the investigation of a number of industrially-linked challenges. The organisation’s main tool of research is the Transonic Wind Tunnel (TWT), which has been operational since the 1950’s and is the only industrial-scale capability in the UK for transonic testing and one of only a handful worldwide. The tunnel has seen a large number of civil and military research programmes during this time and continues to modernise its facilities to remain efficient and meet the needs of its industrial and government clients.

For this project, ARA identified a number of areas of research that would allow them to develop leading capabilities and datasets that would be available for the wider UK industrial base. These areas of focus included:

  • Implementation of a gust rig in the tunnel
  • Propulsion test development of powered models
  • Research around hybrid laminar flow control (HLFC)
  • Design of a cavity rig to simulate landing gear/weapons bay flow characteristics

This case study highlights the key achievements from each of these work packages.

As well as the core capabilities described in these sections, the research activity has also generated significant new capabilities for ARA in a number of measurement techniques and tools, including:

  • Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) flow visualisation
  • Constant Temperature Anemometry (CTA) turbulence measurement
  • Acoustic Beam Forming noise measurement from the model
  • Pressure Sensitive Paint (PSP) flow measurement
Download the ARA Research and Development Projects case study
Short Title: ARA-R&D
Project Number: 110109
Project Cost: £6,824,000
End Date: 31st Mar 2014
Time Horizon: Secure
Lead Partner: Aircraft Research Association Limited
Attributes: Fuel Efficiency
ATI Value Stream: Aircraft of the future