Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Anthony M. DeLuca, PhD.


An approach to drive conceptual aircraft design using mission effectiveness parameters is described and applied to an operational scenario. The scenario includes traditional aircraft refueling tankers and a proposed tactical tanker concept supporting fighter aircraft conducting offensive (OCA) and defensive (DCA) counter air patrols. Traditional conceptual design methodologies were used to generate a baseline design for a tactical tanker aircraft, which was evaluated using a MATLAB-based model to investigate Measures of Effectiveness (MOE). The model holds the traditional tanker and fighter capabilities constant, while varying the tactical tanker's specific fuel consumption, lift-to-drag ratio, fuel payload, mass fraction, and proximity to contested airspace. A sensitivity analysis was conducted to show the effect of technology variations on MOEs. Results show with a minimum of 45000 lb fuel payload, the tactical tanker can increase the fighter OCA penetration radius by 57%, and the DCA loiter time by 48%. However; optimal size is heavily dependent on gameboard layout, fighter size, and number of aircraft tasked to the tanker. Sensitivity analysis and full factorial trade space exploration show the MOEs are most sensitive to changes in proximity and mass fraction. These results provide recommendations for the prioritization of research efforts if the US Air Force decides to develop a tactical tanker aircraft in the future.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number