Interior, Exterior and Terminal Ballistics of Cannon-Launched Drones
Widespread drone use poses a significant impact hazard to aircraft. Accordingly, regulations, and certification methods for newer or existing aircraft designs are required. National Research Council (NRC) have carried out experimental testing to study the effects of drone impact onto aircraft; specifically, drones launched from air cannons onto aluminum plates. This thesis details results of interior, exterior, and terminal ballistics to validate NRCs experiments. One-dimensional conservation equations were used to predict muzzle velocity of the drone. Computational fluid dynamics and exterior ballistic analysis were used to estimate the drag coefficient and predict translational and rotational velocities before impact. Workflows and methods used in developing finite element models of terminal ballistics are detailed. Finite element computations were used to model impact and penetration of the plate. Impact force, deflection, and deformation were compared with experimental measurements. Results of model validation are promising and improvements, to be carried out in future efforts.