Quiet, Low-Vibration Engine Set For UAV
By Bradley Perrett
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
If engineering design is all about trade-offs, the compromises are especially pronounced in propulsion for small military UAVs. The little piston engines for such aircraft traditionally run on gasoline, an unwelcome fuel in military service. They also waste much of that fuel in their search for high power/weight ratios, and for the same reason they are highly tuned, contributing to noise and vibration, unhelpful for their typical missions of surveillance and reconnaissance.
A new, unidentified U.S. small UAV is avoiding those compromises by employing an engine technology already in widespread civilian use on the ground, from snowmobiles to rickshaws. While specifications are undisclosed, something like a 40% increase in range or endurance has probably been achieved.