Joint Optical Air Data System (JOADS) Project Summary:
The Molecular Optical Air Data System (MOADS) is a compact optical instrument that can directly measure wind speed and direction, temperature, and density of the air ahead of an aircraft. From these measurements, all of the air data products can be determined. MOADS is a direct detection system (i.e., it is based on incoherent rather than coherent detection) and does not require the presence of aerosols to make these measurements. This low observable system replaces pitot probe and alpha/beta sensors and has the growth potential for wind shear detection and gust alleviation/clear air turbulence. A significant level of effort has gone into the existing MOADS prototype, which is scheduled for a flight demonstration in 2000. This Phase I effort will result in a design for the next generation MOADS instrument based on Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) air data requirements. Based on lessons learned from the existing prototype, specific improvements have been identified that will increase the accuracy and update rate of the next system. A technology maturation path for critical items, such as the laser, will also be identified.
Through the Alternative Technology Air Data System (ATADS) study and current programs with the Air Force and Navy, MOADS was shown to be a viable option as an Air Data System by meeting the performance and installation requirements of an aircraft such as the F-117A. The potential exists, therefore, for application toward Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and other tactical and commercial aircraft. The opportunity presented in this SBIR is also significant in that it allows us to begin considering other applications of MOADS in addition to measuring air data products. The multiple-use of MOADS as a wind shear, gust alleviation, clear air turbulence sensor greatly expands the market potential into the commercial realm.