The U.S. Air Force and Boeing have partnered to test various methods to minimize drag and reduce fuel consumption on the C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft.
The C-17 Drag Reduction Program, run by the Air Force Research Laboratory, aims to examine how certain structural changes to the aircraft will affect airflow around it, according to an article posted Thursday on the Air Force website.
Boeing and the military service attached three Vortex Control Technologies-made finlets to each side of the aft section of a C-17 test aircraft under the program’s first phase.
“Our testing focused not only on fuel performance, but also on any impacts that the devices may have on the flying qualities of the aircraft,” said Capt. Kevin Meyerhoff, a test pilot of the Air Force’s 418th Flight Test Squadron.
“This includes the C-17’s ability to perform critical air drop missions,” Meyerhoff added.
Engineers plan to install an additional 10 VCT finlets on the aircraft for the second phase of testing.
Lockheed Martin will provide microvanes and fairings for installation on C-17 aft fuselage and wings in an effort to facilitate third and fourth testing phases.