The design of the inlet(s) is one of the most demanding tasks of the development process of any gas turbine-powered aircraft. This is mainly due to the multi-objective and multidisciplinary nature of the exercise. The solution is generally a compromise between a number of conflicting goals and these conflicts are the subject of the present paper. We look into how these design tradeoffs have been reflected in the actual inlet designs over the years and how the emphasis has shifted from one driver to another. We also review some of the relevant developments of the jet age in aerodynamics and design and manufacturing technology and we examine how they have influenced and informed inlet design decision
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