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SAMAS 2 project, a step forward in the structural integrity and safety of military helicopters

On December the 16th 2021 the Kickoff meeting of the project SAMAS2 has been successfully held in remote.

SAMAS 2 project – “Structural Health and Ballistic Impact Monitoring and Prognosis on a Military Helicopter” (2021-2024) is an EDA (European Defence Agency) Cat.B Project, coordinated by DMEC. It is focused on the development of a Structural Health Monitoring and Prognosis (SHMP) tool that includes model-based and data-based approaches for corrosion monitoring and impact monitoring on helicopters.

SAMAS 2 is the follow up of a series of successful projects, HECTOR, ASTYANAX and SAMAS. The main goal of the current project is to rise the TRL of the proposed technology by its application on a real military helicopter, with laboratory and flight tests, considering the damage coming from corrosion and ballistic impact.

The aim of SAMAS 2 project is to develop a SHMP tool both for corrosion degradation and ballistic impact damages, that can be even possibly exploited for airframe load monitoring and generic damage degradation assessment. Damage due corrosion and ballistic impact have been identified as critical factors for the structural integrity of a helicopter, since they can compromise the whole structural assessment and be a safety concern for the crew. These two main streams are going to be faced along the project with the following strategies:

Development of a corrosion monitoring system, with two goals:
verify the possibility to extend the damage-tolerant design to corrosion, answering the question whether the corrosion pit is equivalent to a standard notch in the definition of the fatigue endurance limit;
defining how to monitor corrosion and its progression rate.

Development of a ballistic impact and damage monitoring system, specifically targeting:
impact detection;
damage detection and quantification;
load monitoring and damage progression estimate.

The SHMP system will be built also by creation of a Digital-Twin D-T that allow to mimic the main physical and engineering behaviours involved in the before mentioned phenomena. The creation of a D-T will leverage on the large expertise of POLIMI Team in structural and system design under extreme loading conditions (e.g. fatigue, impacts, corrosion, etc). The competence developed in both artificial intelligence and stochastic modelling will allow the D-T to be fast, for online application, and capable for self-updating during operation, which is a requirement for an efficient monitoring and prognosis system. Thus, the SHMP, supported by the D-T, will allow to extract relevant damage features from sensors’ signal and to provide both the actual healthy condition of the structure and the prognosis of damage progression.

The Digital-Twin will be based either on FE models or on analytical/empirical models, where the presence of the damage is considered in the model to simulate the behaviour of the structure in more realistic operative conditions. The capability of the D-T and the SHMP will be tested both on a ground laboratory environment and a flight test.

The expected TRL of the systems developed in the framework of the SAMAS 2 activities is 6 to 7 for corrosion monitoring, impact, load and generic damage monitoring.

Il Prof. Marco Giglio is the Project Manager, supported by Prof. Claudio Sbarufatti and Prof. Andrea Manes, acting as technical leaders inside the project. The consortium is composed by Italian and Polish Academic, Research and Industrial entities. Other participants are: Italy, LHD (Leonardo Helicopters), CNR (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche); Poland, AFIT (Air Force Institute of Technology), WZL1 (Military Aviation Works No. 1), ILOT (Lukasiewicz Research Network - Institute of Aviation), MUT (Military University of Technology).