After years of looking up to the Army’s senior research scientists, Mahendra Bhagwat has become one himself.
Maj. Gen. John George, commander of the Combat Capabilities Development Command, announced Bhagwat’s selection as the new Army ST for Airvehicle Aerodynamics and Preliminary Design effective Oct. 25.
“Being selected as the Army ST for aerodynamics and design is both an honor and a humbling experience,” Bhagwat said. “I have always looked up to our STs – my two predecessors and Dr. Mark Tischler, our other aviation ST. It is a little exciting, and also a little frightening to be following in their footsteps. Dr. Dana Taylor brought a wealth of expertise and wisdom gathered through his unique experiences spanning active duty military service to civilian leadership and in the private sector. And I have looked up to Dr. Mike Scully since graduate school. My graduate research on free vortex wake methods had its foundations in his doctoral dissertation over three decades earlier. So following in his footsteps has a special meaning for me.”
While aerodynamics is the science behind how airflow around an airvehicle affects its performance, preliminary design evaluates new airvehicle concepts to assess feasibility. As the Army works to acquire new aircraft and explores unmanned aircraft systems, both aerodynamics and preliminary design play a key role in determining what requirements are needed to fulfill the future Army’s mission.
“One of the challenges is to bring together tools and methodologies of varying fidelities into a comprehensive design environment or analysis framework to support these design studies,” Bhagwat said. “This will help the warfighter in two ways, first by evaluating novel aircraft configurations in terms of their potential to meet Army mission requirements. The other is to evaluate the impact of emerging and advanced technologies on the mission effectiveness. Both of these together provide the data necessary for operational analysis of advanced aircraft concepts.”
Bhagwat received his degree in aerospace engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and his master’s and doctorate from the University of Maryland. He has worked for the Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center for nearly 20 years, an organization he will continue to work for as ST. Prior to becoming a ST, Bhagwat led strategic planning for the aviation basic research and aeromechanics portfolio as the focus/capability area lead.
“I appreciate the freedom we have to explore new ideas while working towards the overarching vision of advancing science to ultimately help the warfighter,” Bhagwat said. “But what I like the most about working for the Army is the people. As I step into this new role, I am fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing team of scientists and engineers in both aeromechanics and design areas whose passion and competence will make this new venture also equally enjoyable. Colleagues who are the very best in their respective fields and also truly passionate mentors who continue to be actively involved long after their retirement.”