Modelling of Distributed-Propulsion Low-Speed HALE UAVs Burning Liquid Hydrogen 2015-01-2467
The present work focuses on developing an integrated airframe, distributed propulsion, and power management methodology for liquid-hydrogen-fuelled HALE UAVs. Differently from previous studies, the aim is to assess how the synergies between the aforementioned sub-systems affect the integrated system power requirement, production, and distribution. A design space exploration study was carried out to assess the influence of distributing motor-driven fans on three different airframes, namely a tube-and-wing, a triple-fuselage, and a blended-wing-body.
For the considered range of take-off masses from 5,000 to 15,000 kg, the 200 kW payload power requirement under examination was found to re-shape the endurance trends. In fact, the drop in specific fuel consumption due to the engine design point change alters the trends from nearly flat to a 25% maximum endurance increase when moving towards heavier take-off masses. For the selected distributed propulsion system, the BWB airframe was found to improve endurance by approximately 30% compared to the other designs, and no apparent benefit was found with the triple-fuselage airframe for the present application.