Slaying the Draken (Cadalyst Daily Archive)

22 Nov, 2006 By: Jack Thornton

Berding conquers huge 3D scanning job to help Lockheed Martin learn from aerodynamics of 50-year-old fighter plane

Success Story

Built by Saab in Linkoping, Sweden, the Draken was designed in 1949. It was Europe's first supersonic combat aircraft. Between 1955 and 1974 more than 600 were built for Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Austria. A late-model Draken (Swedish for "dragon") could fly at Mach 2 -- twice the speed of sound -- and had a flight ceiling of 65,000 feet, comparing favorably with many newer aircraft. The Draken was the first aircraft designed with full-sized wind tunnel models rather than one-eighth scale (or smaller) models. p>

The Draken was designed to meet a variety of criteria. It had to be capable of short takeoffs and landings at small airfields close to battle zones -- sometimes even using ordinary roads. It had to offer an optimized combination of high-speed and low-speed performance. It had to be capable of re-arming in minutes between missions. And the aircraft had to be modular -- bolted together so its four segments could be individually replaced, sent to service or upgraded easily and quickly. Surprisingly, a few late-model Drakens still fly today, all with civilian pilots.

When aerospace/defense powerhouse Lockheed Martin wanted to research the aerodynamics of this 50-year-old Swedish-built jet fighter, it turned to Berding 3D Scanning, a digitizing and surveying firm, for help with processing point-cloud data using PolyWorks from InnovMetric Software. Utilizing long-range, low-definition and short-range, high-definition scanning systems, Berding 3D Scanning specializes in developing digital representations of physical objects, ranging from small component parts to entire plant layouts. Berding faced a huge challenge, but thanks to the right software tools, it answered Lockheed Martin's call with great success. Read more >>


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About the Author: Jack Thornton

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