The aircraft flies using Active Flow Control (AFC). It uses a series of nozzle arrays along the wings connected to a pressurized air system. These nozzle arrays can blow controlled bursts of air to directly alter the air pressure and flow around the aircraft, effectively creating a virtual control surface from compressed air. Aurora Flight Sciences is currently building a full-scale unmanned AFC test vehicle with a wingspan of 30 feet and capable of flying at speeds up to Mach 0.7. As the program progresses to Phase 3, the aircraft will be completed and in-flight tested by 2025. This new technology has the potential to change the way future aircraft are designed and manufactured.
Image Credit: Aurora Flight Sciences