Sunday, August 12, 2012

Australian Engine Technology in UAV

The Australian Orbital Corporation's FlexDI Heavy Fuel Engine has been chosen for the Australian designed Aerosonde UAV for USN/US Special Forces Operations Command ("Driving Force", Beth Stevenson, page 31, Unmanned Vehicles, Sheppard Publications, June/July 2012). The Aerosonde was originally powered by an Avgas engine, which limited the range and required a special supply in the military environment.

In 1999 I visited Aerosonde, in Victoria and looked at early models of the robotic aircraft under construction.

The Aerosonde was interesting in being small enough to be carried by one person, but having enough range to cross an ocean, and do so autonomously. This cuts across the usual division between small short range UAVs which are flown by an operator like a model airplane, and large long range UAVs which are semi-autonomous.

The Aerosonde would be a useful complement to the RAN's new amphibious warfare fleet, offering a low cost option to extend ship's sensors.Link

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