Future Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) will require a Joint Force that can conduct cross-domain maneuvers to penetrate and operate in complex and contested areas to enable freedom for both strategic and operational maneuver
The CCDC ARL’s research investments in Propulsion Sciences Foundational research competency are focused on gaining a greater fundamental understanding of advanced propulsion and platform technologies to inform and enable enduring cross-domain maneuver of air and ground (manned and autonomous) operations in MDO. It serves as a key enabler of innovative vehicle configurations and subsystem architectures that are critical to the future Army’s movement and maneuver. Knowledge gained through fundamental and early applied research efforts will lead to technologies that overcome the constraints on design, fabrication, integration, control, propulsion, and vehicle intelligence to support reliable mobility and ensure power projection superiority for the future Army. The Propulsion Sciences Competency builds on fundamental pillars of science and engineering to conduct research in manned-and-unmanned Army air and ground platforms that are critical to the future Army’s movement, sustainment, and maneuverability.
Research Focus: To discover, innovate, inform, and transition S&T enabled capabilities that significantly increase the force effectiveness of the Army’s air and ground manned and unmanned systems in future Multi-Domain Operations and Cross-Domain Maneuvers.
Vision for MDO: To create disruptive and game-changing vehicle-centric technologies for the Army through utilization of ARL and partner expertise and facilities in combustion physics, propulsion sciences, aeromechanics, intelligent mechanics, VTOL design and analysis, aviation component and structural materials, autonomous systems, robotic mobility and manipulation, and state-of-the-art modeling and experimental facilities.
To realize this mission and vision, the Propulsion Sciences Competency is organized around three primary research areas in Platform Power, Platform Design and Control, and Intelligent Maneuver (Figure 8). Multi-disciplinary approaches are needed that explore the intersections and span all three research areas in order to create disruptive and game-changing vehicle-centric technologies to inform the Army’s future vertical lift platforms, next generation combat vehicles, and robotics and autonomous systems. To support this multi-disciplinary approach, three cross-cutting concepts serve to focus the core mission around “All-Terrain Autonomous Maneuver,” “eXtreme Unmanned Aerial Systems (XUAS), and “Advanced Rotorcraft Performance.”