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Adaptive Flight Control to Enhance Survivability and Reduce Cost of Change PhD


Project Description

This project aims to develop an adaptive flight control system based on a learning based approach. The adaptive approach will enable the flight control system to safely learn and re-learn how to fly through a combination of flight simulation and real-world experience.

This study will be supported by both Cranfield University and BAE Systems under iCASE award for 3.5 years. The tuition fee will be covered and a bursary of £18,000 pa will be provided for 3.5 years. Applicants should have a minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area (e.g. aerospace, mechanical, electrical, control engineering).

The project will be supported under iCASE award. The industrial sponsor is BAE Systems. BAE Systems is a global defence, security and aerospace company. They provide some of the world’s most advanced, technology-led defence, aerospace and security solutions and employ a skilled worksforce over 40 countries. The Company delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, including the developments, delivery and support of military air platforms, naval surface vessels and submarines.

The adaptive approach to be developed will enable the flight control system to safely learn and re-learn how to fly through a combination of flight simulation and real-world experience. This could completely shift the paradigm of the typical control system design approach, current practiced. The adaptive flight control system should be able to substantially reduce the cost of change and time of change associated with modifications to the outer mould line of an aircraft. It should enable the aircraft to fly despite having fault, failure, received significant battle damage and/ or loss, or malfunction of the aircraft and its aerodynamic control surfaces. Consequently, we can expect a substantial increase in aircraft survivability and availability, which refers to the ability to safely fly the aircraft despite it having some faults.

The studentship will be supported by both Cranfield University and BAE Systems under the iCASE award framework. The supervision team from Cranfield University has a strong track record on flight control systems and adaptive control. BAE Systems would be happy to support this PhD programme to guide the project and provide critical and considered peer review of the research results. This will provide the student a unique opportunity to learn both theoretical and practical aspects of real flight control systems.

Funding Notes

To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be a UK national. We require that applicants are under no restrictions regarding how long they can stay in the UK i.e. have no visa restrictions or applicant has “settled status” and has been “ordinarily resident” in the UK for 3 years prior to start of studies and has not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does apply to EU nationals).
About the sponsor

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