From the Director’s Desk

by Dennis Lindell

Welcome to the summer 2024 issue of the Aircraft Survivability journal. Looking through the world news headlines these days—especially those regarding the ongoing hostilities in the Middle East and Eastern Europe—one is quickly reminded of the importance of our community’s ongoing mission to help protect U.S. combat aircraft and personnel. At any given moment, it seems, American fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft—flown by U.S. or allied aircrews—can be found operating in dangerous skies all over the globe. And their continued successes are an ongoing testament not only to the hard work and achievement of our Warfighters but also of the survivability practitioners who support them.

In this issue, we take a minute to recognize some of that achievement. First, we honor Mr. Brent Waggoner from the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane with an Excellence in Survivability article. For 4 decades, Brent has helped advance survivability analysis and technologies, especially in the area of infrared countermeasure modeling and simulation. Likewise, in our News Notes, we recognize retiring survivability specialist Mr. Bart Schmidt, as well as two survivability teams—the Army’s Aircraft Survivability Equipment Project Office and the Air Force’s Aerospace Vehicle Survivability Facility RDT&E team—who were both recently honored for distinguished accomplishments.

In our feature article, ENS Jake Hickman and Prof. Chris Adams from the Naval Postgraduate School provide insights into the fundamentals of survivability requirements in the aircraft acquisition process, including the role of these requirements in U.S. aviation history, as well as the processes, tools, and content needed to do them well.

We also have an article from a team from Boeing and the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, discussing a structural optimization methodology to develop a lightweight, crash-tolerant fuel bladder for potential aircraft applications. The methodology has shown an improved ability to predict hydrodynamic ram events within the bladder and a 36% weight reduction from the baseline design.

In our JCAT Corner article, the Army’s Aviation Survivability Development and Tactics (ASDAT) Office reports on some of its recent activities and personnel changes, as well as some upcoming training opportunities for community members.

Finally, Mr. Eric Edwards remembers the 25th anniversary of the first shootdown of a U.S. stealth fighter—an F-117 Nighthawk in Operation Allied Force—recounting some of the major causes behind the historic incident, as well as reflecting on some of the lessons that still have applicability in the community today.

Thank you again for reading and be sure to catch future ASJ issues, which are planned to include discussions on full-spectrum survivability modeling, recent improvements to several models and methodologies, and reports on various events and activities from around the community.