The current high-performance aircraft development programs, and the trends in research and development activities suggest a rapidly increasing level of aircraft subsystem integration, particularly between the airframe/inlet and the propulsion system. Traditionally these subsystems have been designed, analyzed, and tested as isolated systems. The interaction between the subsystems is modeled primarily through evaluating inlet distortion in an inlet test and simulating this distortion in engine tests via screens or similar devices. For the current test methodology, the environment that is supplied by the inlet is simulated by the imposition of total pressure profiles at the aerodynamic interface plane (AIP). Unsteady or transient variation in total pressure is generally not considered to be important. In addition, angular flow, commonly called swirl, is also not considered important enough to be simulated. In the current paper, an overview of current techniques for inlet performance, distortion characterization, and engine distortion testing is presented. A numerical study was conducted on a single high-speed rotor to qualify potential effects on stability and performance and to support the concept that dynamic distortion and swirl may have large enough effects to affect the experimentally determined stability limit. This paper reports a numerical investigation using a 3D compression system simulation that supports the enhancement of the existing methodology to include the effects of time-dependent distortion and swirl effects. Based upon both experimental and numerical evidence, AEDC has embarked on efforts to develop inlet simulator technologies directed toward future airframe-propulsion integration requirements. This paper presents issues that require advancements in the simulation of inlet distortion techniques for direct-connect turbine engine tests.

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