Improving AC-130H Gunship Performance Through Drag Reduction - A Wind Tunnel and Flight Test Partnership

Paper #:
  • 1999-01-5506

Published:
  • 1999-10-19
Citation:
Yechout, T. and Dowty, J., "Improving AC-130H Gunship Performance Through Drag Reduction - A Wind Tunnel and Flight Test Partnership," SAE Technical Paper 1999-01-5506, 1999, https://doi.org/10.4271/1999-01-5506.
Pages:
13
Abstract:
Approximately 120 hours of wind tunnel testing were accomplished to determine the drag contributions of various external protuberances on the AC-130H Gunship and to recommend modifications to achieve optimal drag reduction potential. Also, the operational impact of the recommended configuration was quantified using a performance modeling code. The overall objective of this effort was to establish a solid foundation via experimental and computational ground efforts to support flight test of drag reduction modifications to an aircraft.Thirteen basic AC-130H protuberances were evaluated to determine their incremental drag. A recommended reduced-drag configuration was developed which provided a drag reduction potential of 58.2 counts.An Air Force Research Laboratory performance modeling code (CASP) predicted that the H-model gunship could save 1,630 lbs of fuel, increase its radius 57.4 nmi, or increase its loiter time by 30.0 minutes in a typical combat mission with the recommended modifications. Also, the two-engine absolute ceiling of the AC-130H was predicted to increase approximately 1,500 feet.This research has successfully demonstrated the potential for significant drag reduction and operational improvements in the AC-130H. Verification through flight test is the next logical step before successful implementation.
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