Modeling of Air Flow Over a Generic Aircraft Carrier With and Without Island Structure

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MP Mathew
SN Singh
SS Sinha
R Vijayakumar


The study of external aerodynamics of an aircraft carrier is of utmost importance in ensuring the safety of aircraft and pilots during take-off and recovery. The velocity deficit in the forward direction and the downwash together combine to give a sinking effect to the aircraft, along its glideslope path and is known as the ‘burble’ in naval aviation parlance. This phenomenon is primarily responsible for the potential increase in pilot workload on approach to the aircraft carrier. There is little literature in the open domain regarding ways and means to alleviate the burble effect. Unlike in the case of the automobile industry, which has the generic ‘Ahmed body’ and for the frigates/destroyers, for which there is the Simplified Frigate Ship (SFS), on which experiments and validation through CFD could be carried out, by researchers from all over the world, there is no generic Aircraft Carrier model for carrying out experiments and validation of CFD codes. The aim of this study is to define the Generic Aircraft Carrier Model (GAC), as developed at IIT Delhi, and to carry out numerical studies on the GAC and a variant of GAC without the island, BGAC (Baseline GAC), to assess the contribution of the island to the burble behind an Aircraft Carrier. This study gives a quantitative estimation of the effect and contribution of individual components of an Aircraft Carrier (like flight deck, island, etc.) to the burble behind the carrier, and would give a Naval Ship Designer an understanding of the effect of the geometrical configuration of the flight deck and the island on generation of the burble behind the carrier, which could aid the designer in potentially reducing the pilot workload.

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