The Propulsion Sciences area is focused on exploring and developing the underlying science and technology to enable air and ground platform technologies and capabilities that significantly increase the Army’s force effectiveness across and in the complex and contested environments of the future multi-domain battlefield. This area heavily relies on ARL’s research expertise and facilities devoted to Energy and Propulsion, Platform Mechanics, and Platform Intelligence. Discoveries, innovations, and developments made in this area are expected to significantly impact the Army of the future by greatly enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of future Army systems to include the Next Generation Combat Vehicle and Future Vertical Lift platforms and their associated unmanned robotic teaming concepts. It also supports Soldier Lethality mission priorities through exploring methods for leveraging autonomous systems and emerging energy sources at the small unit level as part of ARL’s Tactical Unit Energy Independence Essential Research Program. Some specific areas of interest include:
Energy and Propulsion concentrates on understanding and exploiting the applications of energy generation, storage, conversion, and management. The goal of this research is to provide energy and power applications to enhance Army operational effectiveness, improve efficiency, and accelerate development of critical military platform systems ensuring Army Power Projection superiority. Topics include materials and combustion physics for highly efficient and reliable engine components and technologies for future vertical lift and unmanned robotic systems, hybrid-electric and alternative tactical propulsion systems, tribology and design methods for novel variable ratio and advance power transmission technologies, tactical power offloading and energy transfer to platforms and dismounted soldiers, and advanced battery technologies for energy storage.
Platform Mechanics focuses on fundamental research that enables the development of the highly maneuverable platforms for the Army of the future. Knowledge gained in this area is expected to impact a wide array of vehicle systems for land, air, and maritime domains, as well as impacting across the scales from micro to macro. Topics include mechanics and aeromechanics design, modeling, and simulation methods and tools for component and system level design, technology trade analysis associated with high performance rotorcraft and unmanned aerial systems, novel and hybrid unmanned aerial vehicle concepts, mechanics and dynamics of complex systems, and actuator and control technologies for future vertical lift and ground unmanned robotic systems.
Platform Intelligence focuses upon fundamental research that enables effective teaming of Soldiers and robots to conduct maneuver and military missions. ARL’s activities are centered upon enhancing the autonomous capabilities of unmanned systems such as gps-denied navigation, agile all-terrain mobility, manipulation of the environment, and advanced agent-agent and human-agent teaming concepts. Knowledge gained in this area is expected to impact a wide array of vehicle systems, including the ground, air, and maritime domains, ranging from micro- to macro-scales.