Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Donald L. Kunz, PhD


Future Air Force requirements for the use of unmanned aircraft will require Automated Aerial Refueling (AAR). Current AAR research requires a precision model to simulate the refueling process of a KC-135 tanker and a UAV. There are existing high fidelity models of the tanker aircraft, refueling boom and proposed receiver aircraft. However, none of the models are coupled. Since boom orientation and motion is known to change the trim of the tanker aircraft, which in turn influences all other aspects of the refueling process, a new model is needed. The new model was created by integrating an existing KC-135 tanker and refueling boom model. The tanker boom equations of motion were coupled using joint coordinates and the velocity transformation. Assessment of the new model investigated boom and tanker motion in comparison with other established models. Ultimately, behavior of the new model was validated by a comparison of simulation results to flight test data.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number