Aerodynamic Optimization of AC External Fuel Tanks at Airbus Defence and Space

Andreas Winkler (Airbus Defence & Space)

CHALLENGE - Design a large external aircraft fuel tank ensuring the maximum range and endurance while minimizing the costs within a given time frame. Furthermore, due to the strict aircraft design standards, the flight conditions, static strength and other requirements should still be satisfied while meeting objectives and respecting the geometric constraints.















SOLUTION - Two independent optimization runs with two different store configurations were generated with a parametric CAD-model in CATIA and an high-fidelity CFD setup. A parameter study of the tank explored the principal flow effects and reduced design variables to eleven. Variables were then run through an articulated optimization loop using the SIMPLEX algorithm and an artificial objective function to deter the significant amount of unfeasible designs.

BENEFITS - modeFRONTIER provided engineers with the means to adapt the automated optimization process and overcome the drawback of the large amount of invalid configurations, due to the highly constrained nature of the design problem. This procedure allowed researchers to identify the objective function that could take in account all targets and constraints and improve it by 5%.