What’s Under the Cowling:
I thought I would do a post on propulsion systems in the public domain that are flying on several UAV’s today. My focus for this post will be on UAV’s utilizing Hirth engines because all this info has been presented in some manner already in public forums (websites, trade shows, articles, etc.). There are a couple good UAV resources that also gives details on the propulsion systems for the global UAV market. These are:
- Shephard’s Unmanned Vehicle Handbook. http://www.shephardmedia.com/publications/handbook/unmanned-vehicles/ This is the UAV “bible” and you can purchase on-line for $105 but they also hand these out for free at AUVSI and other trade shows.
- Armada’s Compendium of Drones. http://www.armada.ch/wp-content/themes/orangemantra/downloads/DRONE_TABLE_low.pdf. This is an info graphic that is very informative.
Hirth 2-Stroke engines are designed and produced in Germany just outside of Stuttgart. The company has been in business over 80 years and produces high end engines that are used in applications where lightweight power solutions are required with high reliability. The engines are used on several consumer applications (as shown below) and they are also used on high end UAV applications which will be detailed further below in this blog.
Figure 1 – Hirth consumer product applications
Figure 2 – Hirth UAV Engine Family (8hp to 100hp).
Figure 3 – Hirth 4102 8hp EFI gasoline engine – EMT Luna UAV
Figure 4 – Hirth 4102 8hp EFI Gasoline engine – Drontech UAV AV1 Albatross
Figure 5 – Hirth S1212 15hp EFI gasoline – Northrop Grumman Bat UAV
Figure 6 – Hirth F33 NG 28hp EFI gasoline – Robot Aviation Aerobot
Figure 7 – Hirth 3401 50hp – Ruag Ranger UAV
Figure 8 – Hirth modified F23 50hp EFI engine – IDS’s SD-150 Hero UAV
Figure 9 – Hirth S1215 50hp EFI engine – Denel Seeker 200 UAV
Figure 10 – Hirth 3503 water cooled engine – Saab Skeldar UAV
Figure 11 – 3503 50hp water cooled engine – Indra Pelicano UAV
There are other UAV’s flying Hirth engines but these are not in the public domain so are not shared in this post. UAV propulsion system requirements are getting more demanding as manufacturers are improving reliability and reducing costs for both defense and commercial applications. The engine is a key system responsible for the overall UAV reliability and operating cost/hr so engine manufacturers are using advanced technologies that are typically found on automotive engines to improve reliability, performance and running costs. Those technologies in combination with high end electrical connectors, wire harnesses, starter/generators and advanced measurement/testing allow the propulsion system to meet demanding UAV reliability and performance requirements.
You can find out more about what propulsion systems are powering UAV’s by attending a trade show (like AUVSI) or some of the large defense conferences like IDEX, AUSA, DSEi, EuroNaval, Eurosatory, SOFIC, and the global air shows like Paris, Farnborough, Avalon, Singapore and others. These shows typically have UAV’s on display and most manufacturers are willing to discuss what is “under the cowling” at least on a general level.
Key UAV News for the Week:
- Czech’s begin Scan Eagle operations in Afghanistan. http://www.janes.com/article/52007/czechs-begin-scaneagle-operations-in-afghanistan#.VXhx8hY-jN4.twitter
- Pentagon Planning for Potential Iraq Expansion. http://www.militarytimes.com/story/defense/international/mideast-africa/2015/06/11/pentagon-planning-for-potential-iraq-expansion/71069096/
- The Underground world of Drone Racing in Australia http://mashable.com/2015/06/11/drone-racing-australia/#:eyJzIjoidCIsImkiOiJfN3FwN3RoajhoYjhqMDY2ZCJ9
- Sikorsky to add Black Hawk to Autonomy Program. http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2015-06-11/sikorsky-add-black-hawk-autonomy-program
Industry Events for the month of June:
- The International Paris Air Show – June 15-21, Le Bourget, France. http://www.siae.fr/EN
- Next Gen Drones – June 23, 24, Bethesda, MD. http://www.knowledgefoundation.com/drones/
- The Commercial UAV Show – Asia 2015 – June 30-July 1, Singapore. http://www.terrapinn.com/exhibition/commercial-uav-asia/?utm_source=UST&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=USTbanner
Quote for the week:
“The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs.