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Flight Dynamics & Control

The Navy and Marine Corps rely on fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and vertical and short take-off and landing (V/STOL) aircraft to perform a wide variety of missions, such as strike and close air support, air and fleet defense, logistics, expeditionary operations, anti-submarine & anti-mine warfare, and search & rescue. The unique requirement to operate from ships at night, in bad weather and at high sea states leads to a number of Science and Technology challenges requiring unique aerodynamic and design attributes. Shipboard aircraft are launched and recovered in very confined spaces and hence require very agile aerodynamic control to counter wind gusts and ship motions and wakes, as well as fixed wing vehicle high lift for reduced stall speeds. In addition, Naval aircraft require unique design features to accommodate limited space and safe operations & support in densely packed areas. The Marine Corps depends on fast, agile air vehicles to execute its Ship-to-Objective Maneuver and distributed operations. Achieving all of these requirements while maintaining the ability for long range force projection calls for advanced aerodynamics and air vehicle designs.

Research Concentration Areas

The Navy and Marine Corps fixed and rotary-wing aircraft have unique flight dynamics and control issues due to their distinct mission requirements necessitating ship-based flight operations in all conditions, including at night, in bad weather and at high sea states. Shipboard landings require precise relative navigation and control in highly unsteady ship air wakes to land on pitching and rolling decks in high sea states. Ship defense requires systems to monitor the maritime environment, interceptors to counter threats and algorithms to guide successful engagements. This program is soliciting white papers and proposals to conduct basic and applied research addressing Navy-driven and Navy-unique challenges.

Research Challenges and Opportunities

  • Advanced control architectures to achieve robust and precise shipboard landings and formation flight in highly unsteady conditions
  • Scaled experiments to validate the predicted effectivity of novel control mechanisms as well as the basic physics governing interactions with free-body dynamics
  • Efficient, linear and non-linear control law synthesis for achieving guaranteed performance and stability across a wide range of flight conditions
  • Mathematical framework for proving the probability of success for a system of vehicles operating with a common objective
  • Innovative experimental methods for ship air wake measurement
  • Advanced sensors and algorithms for precise relative navigation in GPS-denied environments.
  • Sensors and algorithms to safely manage autonomous deck operations
  • Advanced supervisory control that includes mission, flight control, propulsion control, and thermal management

How to Submit

For detailed application and submission information for this research topic, please refer to our broad agency announcement (BAA) No. N00014-23-S-B001.

Contracts: All white papers and full proposals for contracts must be submitted through FedConnect; instructions are included in the BAA.

Grants: All white papers for grants must be submitted through FedConnect, and full proposals for grants must be submitted through; instructions are included in the BAA.


Holm-Hansen, Brian Dr.
Flight Dynamics & Control Program Officer
Code 351