A Heavy-Fueled Engine for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
The growing usage of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for aerial surveillance and reconnaissance in military applications calls for lightweight, reliable powerplants that burn heavy distillate fuels. While mass-produced engines exist that provide adequate power-to-weight ratio in the low power class needed for UAVs, they all use a spark-ignited combustion system that requires high octane fuels. Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has embarked upon an internal research effort to design and demonstrate an engine that will meet the requirements of high power density, power output compatible with small unmanned aircraft, heavy-fuel combustion, reliable, durable construction, and producible design. This effort has culminated in the successful construction and operation of a demonstrator engine.