521. Weight Growth and the Principle of Minimum Contingency


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W H Marr: 521. Weight Growth and the Principle of Minimum Contingency. 1966.



The major function of advanced design conceptual system studies is to determine the effectiveness of a particular design to accomplish a given set of specific requirements. Since the over-all effectiveness and even the feasibility of the system is dependent upon its payload, range and system cost, the weight of the system is a paramount parameter. Therefore, the effectiveness of a design is directly dependent upon possible inaccuracies in the system weight estimation.
Recent advanced design studies have shown that the effect of possible inaccuracies or weight growth in the weight empty estimation on the sensitivity of gross weight (and its concomitant cost) for a constant performance vehicle is much larger than in those of the past. This growth, due to changes in weight empty, can range from a value of about 3 to 1 for subsonic vehicles, 10 to 1 for supersonic vehicles, and approximately 20 to 1 for hypersonic vehicles.
Due to the importance of accurate weights, the principle of minimum contingency was developed as a means of combating weight empty growth. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the development of this principle, and by showing how this method is applied to a hypersonic cruise vehicle.
It is concluded that the following programs be implemented relative to future vehicles, especially the hypersonic cruise vehicle with its associated large growth factor:
1. That a weight penalty clause be an integral part of hardware contracts.
2. Utilization of the principle of minimum contingency from the study through the hardware phase.
3. Basic and applied research in methods of weight estimation.
4. Basic and applied research in weight growth factors.


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