Findings and Recommendations

Finding T5. Emerging microtechnology offers new opportunities in propulsion and aerodynamic control, in particular in (1) distributed sensors and actuators on both macro-aerodynamic surfaces and macro-aeropropulsion units and (2) new, scalable, miniaturized and distributed aero- and space-propulsion systems. Emerging microtechnology has achieved preliminary success in sensing and controlling the boundary layer on full-size, subsonic airfoils. New devices for controlling gas and liquid flow, fabricated using microtechnology, promise to increase the power and reliability of air-breathing, full-size propulsion units. Several new aeropropulsion and space propulsion systems, such as micro-turbine engines and micro-rocket engines, have been fabricated and are in the early test phase.

Recommendation T5. The Air Force should move decisively to develop new research and development programs to bring microtechnology to both macro- and microscale propulsion and aerodynamic control systems.


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