BAE Systems has been granted a patent for an aircraft design that collects air data. The aircraft includes a wing structure, forebody, and afterbody covered by a skin. The skin features recesses that affect the air pressure, and there are sensor ports for measuring both ambient air pressure and the pressure at the recess. GlobalData’s report on BAE Systems gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on BAE Systems, AR/VR head-up displays was a key innovation area identified from patents. BAE Systems's grant share as of September 2023 was 51%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Aircraft with recesses in the skin to measure air pressure

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: BAE Systems Plc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11774466B2) describes an aircraft designed to collect air data. The aircraft includes a wing structure, a forebody located in front of the wing structure, and an afterbody located behind the forebody. The entire aircraft is covered by a skin. The patent claims that the aircraft has at least one recess formed in the skin, which is configured to affect the pressure of air flowing at the recess. Additionally, the aircraft has at least one ambient sensor port for measuring the ambient air pressure at the skin, as well as at least one recess sensor port for measuring the air pressure at the recess.

The patent further specifies that the recess can be formed at the forebody of the aircraft, either on a lateral part or a lower part of the forebody. The aircraft can have multiple recesses, with a first recess provided at a port-side lateral part of the forebody and a second recess provided at a starboard-side lateral part of the forebody. There can also be a third recess. Each recess is equipped with a transducer at the respective sensor ports to convert the detected air pressure into an air pressure signal. A processor connected to the transducers receives the air pressure signals and generates an air pressure profile. Using this profile, the processor determines at least one characteristic of the air.

The patent also describes a method for determining air flow at the aircraft. The method involves exposing the aircraft to air flow, detecting the air pressure at the ambient sensor port and the recess sensor port to determine an air pressure profile, acquiring a relationship between the air pressure profile and a predetermined air characteristic, and applying this relationship to determine a value for the predetermined air characteristic. The method can also involve detecting the air pressure at additional recesses and determining further values for the predetermined air characteristic. These values can be compared to the initial value to determine an average value if multiple recesses are provided.

Overall, this patent presents an aircraft design and a method for collecting air data using recesses in the aircraft's skin and sensor ports. The disclosed technology aims to provide accurate measurements of air pressure and determine various characteristics of the air.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.