Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Mark F. Reeder, PhD.


Two very important, and often detrimental, phenomena can occur when an open weapons bay, or more generally-a cavity, is exposed to high-velocity flow. First, a shear layer develops over the cavity, leading to large regions of difficult-to-predict flow. Second, dynamic pressure oscillations are generated within the cavity itself. These two issues can combine to have multiple harmful effects on weapons carriage and employment. This provided motivation for flight tests which quantify forces and moments on a store, mounted at various positions in the cavity, for a variety of flight conditions. Specifically, a low-cost, easily reconfigurable test bed for weapons-cavity research was needed by the store separation community. This thesis presents the conceptual development, design, ground test, and flight test of the Weapons-cavity Acoustics Store Separation Pod (WASSP). The WASSP was a modified SUU-41 pod (suspended utility unit) instrumented to collect forces and accelerations on a scaled model missile. In addition, time-resolved pressure and qualitative flow field imaging were captured for the scaled cavity. This research included seven test missions in the F-16 Fighting Falcon totaling 6.9 flight hours. All flight testing occurred at Edwards Air Force Base from 8-15 September 2015. Test points were flown at altitudes of 10,000, 15,000, 20,000, 25,000, and 29,000 feet pressure altitude and airspeeds of 0.60, 0.70, 0.80, 0.90, and 0.93 Mach. General results showed the flow to be highly unsteady, with normal force and pitching moment changing relative to Mach number, and the acoustic environment closely matching predictions. Overall, the WASSP proved to be an excellent test bed for weapons cavity and store separation research.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number