The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded Jetoptera two 2021 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) contracts.

Jetoptera has developed a Fluidic Propulsion System (FPS) is an approach to produce thrust for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL)-capable aircraft.

Under the contracts, the company will work on the system’s noise characterisation in an anechoic chamber wind tunnel.

Jetoptera’s work also involves proving that the FPS can produce specific lift force levels, as a rotor-wing aircraft, without moving parts when used with an ‘Upper Surface Blown Wing (USB) configuration’.

For the first contract, Jetoptera collaborated with the University of Notre Dame professor Scott Morris to deploy the anechoic wind tunnel in their Turbomachinery Labs.

Jetoptera and Morris will also ‘characterise the aero performance and acoustics signature of the FPS’ and compare it with similar thrust propulsors that are currently employed in UAVs and UAM concepts.

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Jetoptera CEO Dr Andrei Evulet said: “We will compare the FPS and three other propulsion technologies that are the legacy propulsors for Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) UAVs and UAM vehicles using a similar power supply for each.

“Having already established our FPS lower noise emissions potential versus a propeller under another programme, this time we will be using an anechoic chamber and a different measurement system, with the goal of confirming the advantages of the propulsion technology we have invented.”

As part of the second contract, Jetoptera has partnered with the University of Washington professor Alberto Aliseda to employ the Kirsten Wind Tunnel to show the feasibility of lift and thrust augmentation.

Jetoptera noted that the performance period for each contract is six months.