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New military aircraft test laboratory unveiled at Loughborough University

Representatives from BAE Systems and Loughborough University view the new facility

Senior representatives from BAE Systems have visited Loughborough University to view a new test laboratory for research into the company’s military jet aircraft – the only one of its kind in the UK.

Developed in partnership with BAE Systems, Loughborough and colleagues from the Universities of Cranfield and Leicester, the facility can assess how to cool the electronic systems within an aircraft most effectively.  This is known as thermal management.

Based at Loughborough’s Holywell Park, it has been created by PhD student Andy Jones from the University’s Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering as part of his BAE Systems sponsored studies at Loughborough.

Thermal management is an important consideration in the design and operation of high performance aircraft.  With industry moves towards More Electric Aircraft (MEA), global operations and, within the military environment, low observability the requirements on an aircraft’s thermal management system are increasing beyond current capabilities.

This is why the work being done by Loughborough, which has the potential to lead developments in this field, is important to BAE Systems.  Initially the laboratory will be enabling greater understanding of the complex fluid dynamics and heat transfer of thermal management systems and beyond that it offers a potential platform for testing novel system architectures and future technologies.

Mike Wiseman, Head of Flight Systems Engineering at BAE Systems said: “What Andy has managed to put together is really impressive and it has been great that BAE Systems has been able to support Loughborough by providing actual aircraft equipment.  By making the facility as representative of in-service systems as possible means the potential transfer of learning back into current aircraft development is enhanced.  Hopefully the success of this activity will lead to further opportunities for collaboration with Loughborough in the future.”

Andy Jones added: “Working with BAE Systems on this project has been fantastic, and I am delighted that they are happy with the unique test facility I have created here at Loughborough.”

The visit was attended by senior representatives from BAE Systems, including Mike Wiseman and Steve Harris, BAE system’s University and Collaborative Programmes Relationships Manager.  Attendees from Loughborough included Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Chris Linton, Professor Jon Binner, Dean of the School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering and Professor Rui Chen – Andy’s PhD supervisor – from the Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering.

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