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DARPA Taps Aurora to Build Active Flow Control Aircraft Demonstrator

DARPA Taps Aurora to Build Active Flow Control Aircraft Demonstrator
X-65 demonstrator

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has selected Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing subsidiary, to commence the development of a full-scale aircraft that uses active flow control for flight control.

Aurora will build and demonstrate the X-65 aircraft under the third phase of the Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors program, DARPA said Wednesday.

“The X-65 is a technology demonstrator, and it’s distinctive, diamond-like wing shape is designed to help us maximize what we can learn about AFC in full-scale, real-world tests,” said Richard Wlezien, program manager for CRANE at DARPA.

The experimental aircraft features two sets of control actuators: AFC effectors embedded across all flying surfaces and traditional flaps and rudders.

In 2020, Aurora secured a Phase 0 contract to develop a conceptual AFC design under the CRANE program.

The company received a potential $42.2 million contract to move forward with the second and third phases of the program in December 2022.

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Written by Naomi Cooper

is a full-time writer for ArchIntel, a division of Executive Mosaic, and a contributor for ExecutiveBiz. She covers emerging technologies, technology innovation, contract awards, partnerships and market expansion stories in the government contracting industry.

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