You are on page 1of 11


5.1. Objective
A good aerodynamics design is vital to the success of a supersonic aircraft, with
the two main objectives as the ability of supersonic flight and the reduction of take off
gross weigh. The design of the wing must provide sufficient lift to meet performance
requirements, while the overall aircraft design is required to minimize drag to reduce total
fuel required.
The Sentinel is designed for the highest performance with the lowest possible cost
in terms of total fly away cost or the amount of fuel burned.
5.2. Wing Design
5.2.1. Airfoil Selection
Although the geometry of a thin airfoil does not make a significant difference
during supersonic flight, it does greatly influence the subsonic performance of the
aircraft. The A!A "#$%&" airfoil was chosen for the Sentinel based on the airfoil
thickness and the availability of airfoil wing tunnel data. The airfoil has a "' chord
thickness to reduce the negative shockwaves effect for supersonic performance while the
slight camber enables the airfoil to produce lift even at zero angle of attack. The A!A
"# series was reverse designed for the minimization of drag comparing to the other
A!A airfoils. The geometry layout of the airfoil can be seen in (ig. ).*.
Figure 5.1. on$dimensional geometry of A!A "#$%&" airfoil.
5.2.2. Wing Geometry and erformance
The Sentinel was designed with a swept wing with an aspect ratio of +.%), a taper
ratio of *,+, and leading edge sweep angle of )& degree. (ig. ).%. illustrates the wing
geometry and -ach cone generated by supersonic flight.
Figure 5.2. .raphic illustration of the wing geometry with a -ach cone at -ach %.%.
The wing was strategically positioned to be completely engulfed by the -ach cone,
which results in reduced flow velocity over the wing. This setup is advantageous since a
wing in a subsonic flow produces appro/imately twice the lift as a wing in supersonic
flow according to the conical flow theory
Spanwise dimension [ft]


2ffects such as downwash, wing twist, and taper ratio all have influence on the
transformation between airfoil aerodynamic data and the aerodynamic properties of a
three dimensional finite wing. 3AT!4- charts provided by 5aymer were used to predict
the performance of the wing under various flow conditions.
This data was compiled
into (ig. ).+, providing a correlation between ma/imum lift coefficients at various -ach
numbers, although it should be noted that the ma/imum lift produced at higher -ach
numbers depend more on the structural strength of the wing.
Figure 5.!. -a/imum lift coefficient versus -ach number.
5.!. Drag rediction
3rag prediction is essential to the success of designing a supersonic aircraft. A
reduction in drag produced by the aircraft would result in an increased access thrust, thus
greater climb rate and higher overall performance6 it would also reduce the fuel
consumption and decreased the take off gross weight required for the mission.
3rag forces on an aircraft are formed by three main components7 the lift induced
drag which is caused by the pressure difference between the front and back of the wing,
the parasitic drag which is mainly consist of skin friction and turbulence formed behind
the aircraft due to the shape or 8form9 of the components, and the wave drag which is
caused by the formation of shock wave during transonic and supersonic flight. (ig. ).#
compares the wave drag of the Sentinel with various historical aircrafts.
Figure 5.". :ave drag comparison between the Sentinel and ($*&", ($# and ;$<&.
A combination of parasitic drag and wave drag at various -ach number and
altitude is shown in (ig. ).). !alculations based on the ;oeing estimation approach yield
a drag divergent -ach number of &.=>#6 at which point the wave drag becomes a
significant part of the overall drag produced by the aircraft.
3ata from this plot and the
lift induced drag were combined to estimate the thrust required for steady level flight.
Figure 5.5. ?arasitic drag and wave drag at various altitudes 0ft1 and -ach numbers.
Another essential parameter in determining the aircraft performance is the lift to
drag ratio, usually obtained from the drag polar plot of an aircraft. This ratio is essential
in predicting the optimal altitude, fuel consumption, best cruise velocity and bestloiter
velocity. @t is also used to predict the ma/imum climb rate velocity. (ig. )." displays the
drag polar diagram of the Sentinel.
Figure 5.#. 3rag polar of the Sentinel at #&,&&& ft.
5.". $om%arison &it' Delta Wing
3elta wing configurations are common among modern supersonic aircrafts such
as the 2urofighter, 3assault 5afael, and Saab .ripen. The delta wing is known to have
good transonic and supersonic performance due to the highly swept leading edge, which
also contributes to the formation of leading edge vorte/ AB2CD. The resulting B2C
effectively provides additional lift production at higher angles of attack. @n order to
justify the decision to employ a swept back wing instead of delta wing, drag analysis and
!B,ma/ data from 3AT!4-
for both wing types were compiled and compared in (ig. ).<
aD and bD.
Figure 5.(. The comparison between swept wing of Sentinel and a delta wing of the same
wing area for aD drag forces at various -ach number and bD -a/imum lift coefficient at
various -ach number using 3AT!4- data
. As illustrated in the above plots, the delta wing produced slightly less drag at
transonic and supersonic regime comparing to the swept back wing. Eowever, the
ma/imum lift coefficient of the delta wing is significantly lower than that of a swept back
wing. A swept back wing was chosen based on the above statement in addition to the
known property of having a higher aspect ratio at a given wing loading value, thus
producing less induced drag.
5.5. )ift Distribution
@n order to study the effect of downwash, as well as to decide on the setup of
structural components to withstand the lift generated by the wing, an appro/imation of
lift distribution along the wing is required. There are various methods that can be used to
solve for the lift distribution of a tapered swept wing, with the most influential one as the
modified lifting line theory proposed by :eissinger
. Eowever, due to numerical
difficulty, it was decided to use a simpler appro/imation suggested by Schrenk
uses equation ).*.


c y c

A ).*D,
where cAyD is the variation of chord length with respect to spanwise location. The
resulting half span lift distribution of the wing is shown in (ig. ).=.
(igure ).=. The spanwise lift distribution of the wing at zero degree angle of attack.
5.#. *ig' )ift Devices
2/tra lift is needed during take off and landing as the aircraft is traveling at a
slower velocity, which would require a larger !B value to stay aloft. Eigh lift devices
were introduced in order to generate adequate lift for take off, landing, and high g turns.
The Sentinel employed <&' span leading edge slats and (owler type flaps that cover the
inner +&' of the e/posed wing area, similar to the setup illustrated in (ig. ).>. A (owler
type flap was chosen since it generates the highest lift among the flap types and can be
reasonably equipped on an airfoil of "' chord thickness. The increase in lift from the
usage of high lift devices under various conditions is demonstrated in Table ).*.
(igure ).>. ($*= with full span leading edge slat.
Table ).*. !ontribution of high lift devices for various maneuvers.
Altitude SL 35000 35000
Mach # 0.2 0.7 .2
Maneu!e" Landing #u"n #u"n2
c$%c flap . .00 .025
c$%c slat .025 .00025 .025
&'(o 0.0523 0.0)7* 0.0)+7
&'(i 0.0*3 0.0)2 0.0)7
&'L,ma-,total 0.5522 0.557 0.525+
5.(. +nterdisci%linary ,rade Study
The instantaneous turn rate is one of the most demanding requirements set by the
5(?. The aircraft stall limit and < g structural limit was plotted to obtain the corner speed
at which the ma/imum instantaneous turn rate occurs. A trade study of various flap
configurations was done to optimize the flap setting as discussed in section +.%.
5.-. $onclusion
A good aerodynamics design is essential for a successful supersonic aircraft. The
analysis presented above has illustrated that the Sentinel is optimized for supersonic
operation as well as subsonic maneuvers. Farious obstacles were encountered and
overcame during the design process, demonstrating the TS design team motto 8Think,
!reate, @ntegrate.9
0*1 ;ertin, G. 8Aerodynamic for 2ngineeers9, #
edition, ?rinceton Eall ?ublication,
0%1 5aymer, 3. 8Aircraft 3esign7 A !onceptual Approach9. +
edition, A@AA, *>>>.
0+1 :eissinger 8Bift 3istribution of Swept$;ack :ing9 A!A T- **%&, *>#<.
0#1 Schrenk 8A Simple Appro/imation -ethod for 4btaining the Spanwise Bift
3istribution9 A!A T- >#=, *>#&.
0)1 Hves (auconnier 8G$)&&) about to land after a nice in flight display at ancy air show.
Gune %&&%.9 0http7,,,aeromil$yf,(*=l'%&)&&)'%&landing.jpg.
Accessed #,*%,&".1