FirstSpear

Archive for the ‘UAS’ Category

Brigantes Presents – One Bravo Quadcopter Drones

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

Parrot have long been the European leader in professional consumer drones and the features of these drones are able to translate very successfully within a military environment.

The ANAFI Thermal SE is a French, discreet, micro drone equipped with EO/IR cameras for Scouting & Intelligence, Combat Support & Mobility Support. Ultra compact and lightweight, with 11x zoom, it delivers real-time video and high resolution shooting capabilities from up to 4km away. With 26 minutes of flight time, ANAFI Thermal SE flies at an altitude ensuring total discretion beyond enemy lines and contributes to the conduct of close operations. Close operation requires speed and mobility. Thanks to the small form factor and its compact design, ANAFI Thermal SE can be easily integrated in the soldier’s tactical equipment pack. The camera module provides high quality and precise thermal imaging for urban environment detection and identification of threats and its secure wireless link (AES) transmits images and commands in real time with no data being disseminated.

The Anafi USA was originally designed for the US Army and is manufactured in Massachusetts. It is considered a big jump up in capability from the Thermal. The USA has similar features to the Thermal SE with additional features. It is IP rated to IP53, so it is ideal for poorer weather conditions and desert environments. It has a much larger thermal sensor, so the quality is increased, and it has a stabilised 32x zoom, which is a feature usually reserved for much larger, expensive drones in this industry.  

Brigantes have worked with Parrot to provide advise and feedback to make these drones even more suitable to the end user. The additional changes, such as allowing the software to recognise grid referencing in MGRS and measuring angles in mls, make data mapping and surveillance in many deployments much easier to accomplish.

These drones are powerful, lightweight and can pack away easily in a Burgan whilst on exercise or deployments.

For more information:

UK – [email protected]

International – [email protected]

For visit our website Brigantes.com to set up an account. Procurement accounts are available.

Viasat, AeroVironment Team to Develop Enhanced Type 1 Encrypted Communications Capabilities for US Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

CARLSBAD, Calif. and SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Oct. 15, 2020 — Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, and AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), today announced they will collaborate on a contract awarded under the U.S. Army Reconfigurable Communications for Small Unmanned Systems (RCSUS) initiative. The project will provide U.S. military customers flying small UAS platforms the ability to deploy a robust, on-demand, highly-secure communications network that will address the growing electronic warfare capabilities of peer and near-peer adversaries.

Viasat is the prime contractor on the award and will work with AeroVironment to develop and demonstrate advanced, encrypted communications suitable for AeroVironment’s portable, hand-launched Puma AE™ tactical UAS. The two companies will seek to strengthen the communications and transmission security of AeroVironment’s Digital Data Link™ (DDL) radios currently used by the U.S. Army by converting them into a Type 1 crypto communication system for video and data transmission.

In addition, Viasat and AeroVironment will develop critical interoperability standards for enabling UAS to generate a secure, digitally encrypted communications network—for protecting classified data and improving waveform performance in jamming environments—via the embedded DDL waveform. They will also create a standardized communications architecture that will allow UAS to access spectrum quickly and easily, especially when operating in contested environments.

“Viasat’s robust military-grade cryptography and electronic countermeasure tactical waveform design will enable quick expansion of secure communications to a variety of small unmanned systems operating at the tactical edge,” said Ken Peterman, president, Government Systems, Viasat. “By collaborating with AeroVironment, an established leader in the tactical UAS sector, we can help the U.S. Army set new waveform standards that maximize connectivity and minimize the risk of signal intercept.”

Currently, tens of thousands of AeroVironment tactical unmanned aircraft are deployed around the world and are capable of serving as secure, digital network communication nodes for on-demand, mesh network applications in various operating environments.

“As U.S. forces plan for the potential of operating against peer and near-peer military adversaries possessing advanced electronic warfare capabilities, the need for even more secure communication capabilities is rapidly increasing,” said Scott Newbern, AeroVironment chief technology officer. “We will work with Viasat to provide customers requiring enhanced, secure communication capabilities with a portable, practical solution for maintaining secret-level communications via tactical unmanned aircraft systems operating at the battlefield’s edge.”

Army Readies Charging Port for Autonomous Drone Swarms

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — A swarm of hundreds of unmanned air vehicles will soon descend on unmanned ground vehicles to autonomously recharge, thanks to U.S. Army-funded research now underway at the University of Illinois Chicago.

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory awarded the University of Illinois Chicago a four-year, $8 million cooperative agreement in August to develop foundational science in two critical propulsion and power technology areas for powering future families of unmanned aircraft systems, or UASs.

This collaborative program will help small battery-powered drones autonomously return from military missions to unmanned ground vehicles for recharging. The university is developing algorithms to enable route planning for multiple teams of small unmanned air and ground vehicles.

Dr. Mike Kweon, program manager for the laboratory’s Versatile Tactical Power and Propulsion Essential Research Program, said the research on route planning is critical to the Army, which needs intelligent, small UASs that can find optimal routes during a military mission to autonomously return to unmanned ground vehicles, known as UGVs, for recharging. This will optimize the operational range extension and time on mission.

“Imagine in the future, the Army deploying a swarm of hundreds or thousands of unmanned aerial systems,” Kweon said. “Each of these systems has only roughly 26 minutes with the current battery technologies to conduct a flight mission and return to their home before they lose battery power, which means all of them could conceivably return at the same time to have their batteries replaced.”

This future concept is based on the reality of today’s technology, Kweon said.

“Soldiers would need to carry a few thousand batteries on missions to facilitate this, which is logistically overwhelming and overall, not conducive to a leading expeditionary military operation,” he said. “With this research project, we’re operationalizing scientific endeavors to increase Soldier readiness on the battlefields of tomorrow.”

The use of fast, recharging batteries and wireless power transfer technologies will allow multiple small UASs to hover around unmanned ground vehicles for wireless charging, and this will not require Soldier involvement.

“I believe this is the only way to realize practical UAS swarming, and small UAS and UGV teaming. Without solving how to handle the energy demand, all other advanced technologies using artificial intelligence and machine learning will be useless for the Army,” Kweon said. “On the battlefield, we do not have luxury to replace batteries for 100s of UAVs and recharging them for hours.”

For larger drones, Army-funded research will explore the fundamental science needed to develop miniaturized fuel sensors for future multi-fuel hybrid electric propulsion systems.

Fuel property sensors that university partners are developing will help Soldiers who operate fuel-based equipment measure fuel property in real time for the Army’s air and ground vehicles, Kweon said.

This knowledge will allow Army personnel to prevent catastrophic failures of the systems and to increase its performance and reliability.

“This research is critical not only for air vehicles but also ground vehicles, especially for the Army missions,” Kweon said. “The fuel sensor is telling the operator what type of fuel is being delivered from the fuel tank to the engine. This input signal can be used to intelligently tell the engine to adjust engine control parameters according to the fuel type to avoid any failures. This data can also be used to find root-cause failures if any engine component prematurely failed.”

The university’s current research in fuel sensor development examines the effects of fuel structure and chemistry on ignition in future multi-fuel drone engines so that real-time control can be implemented. This project further explores the underpinning science using advanced techniques including spectroscopic diagnostics and data science analysis to both enable and accelerate real-time control.

“It also enriches the understanding of the ignition of any unconventional fuel that may need to be burned in the drone engines,” said Prof. Patrick Lynch, a principal investigator at the University of Illinois Chicago on this project.

Army researchers said there is a lot of enthusiasm about partnering through the Open Campus model.

“This not only advances the state of the art, but also operationalizes science for transformational overmatch–the mission of the CCDC Army Research Laboratory,” said Dr. Mark Tschopp, ARL Central regional lead. “What is great is that we are expanding the team to include experts in academia, small businesses, and industry to push concepts and ideas into future capabilities for the Army. In a partnership with the Army, the University of Illinois Chicago brings subject matter expertise, unique facilities and a diverse student body in a collaborative partnership with Army scientists to advance these technologies and to provide future capabilities for the warfighter.”

This university-led research project is one of 11 funded this summer by the Army’s corporate research laboratory as a part of Center for UAS Propulsion efforts to develop technologies for multi-fuel capable hybrid-electric engines and fast efficient energy distribution. Each university partner is helping the Army address the energy demand required to power future unmanned vehicles. Universities also awarded for similar research are the University of Minnesota; University of Michigan; University of Wisconsin-Madison; University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign; Iowa State University; University of Delaware; University of North Texas; Texas A&M University; University of Missouri and University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

The research, slated to begin this fall, is part of a larger research portfolio of multi-fuel capable hybrid-electric technologies led by the laboratory that supports the Army Modernization Priority for Future Vertical Lift. Most recently, the laboratory recently announced the development of a new, advanced scientific model that will allow vehicle maintenance specialists to turn to bio-derived fuels in austere locations, and efforts to convert a home-based generator into a power source for autonomous ground and air vehicles.

By U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs

AeroVironment Secures $8.4 Million Puma 3 AE Unmanned Aircraft Systems Foreign Military Sales Contract Award for US Ally

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020

• Puma 3 All Environment (AE) unmanned aircraft system delivers immediate tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) in maritime and land operations

• Customer is among the 50 allied government forces relying on AeroVironment’s innovative family of tactical unmanned aircraft systems (UAS); Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program promotes interoperability among U.S. and allied forces for joint operations

• Long-Range Tracking Antenna (LRTA) enables 60 kilometer range, and is now available in both M1/2/5 and M3/4/6 Digital Data Link (DDL) military operating bands

Puma 3 AE (All Environment) is ideal for use in day, night, or low-light environments, and for land or maritime operations (Photo: AeroVironment)

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Oct. 13, 2020 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), today announced it secured a $8,371,332 firm-fixed-price U.S. Department of Defense FMS contract award on September 25, 2020 for Puma™ 3 AE tactical UAS, training and support to an allied nation. Delivery is anticipated by March 2021.

“The United States Department of Defense and the defense forces of 50 allied nations around the world rely on AeroVironment’s family of tactical unmanned aircraft systems to protect and empower frontline troops in the harshest operating environments,” said Rick Pedigo, vice president of sales and business development at AeroVironment. “With an unmatched track record for reliability and effectiveness in combat, training and humanitarian operations, and a roadmap of continuous enhancement and innovation into the future, customers can rely on AeroVironment to proceed with certainty into any operational scenario.”

The AeroVironment Puma 3 AE is a fully man-portable unmanned aircraft system designed for land and maritime operations. The hand-launched Puma 3 AE has a wingspan of 9.2 feet (2.8 meters), weighs 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) and operates for up to 2.5 hours at line-of-sight range of 20 kilometers with a standard antenna, and up to 60 kilometers with AeroVironment’s Long-Range Tracking Antenna. Capable of landing in water or on land, the all-environment Puma, with its Mantis i45 sensor suite, empowers the operator with extended flight time and a level of imaging capability never before available in the tactical UAS class.

To expand operational range, AeroVironment’s Long-Range Tracking Antenna (LRTA) can be used with Puma 3 AE, and all other Digital Data Link (DDL) equipped UAS,  increasing line-of-sight command and control up to 60 kilometers. The LRTA features a directional antenna mounted on a tracking positioner that allows for automatic or manual tracking of an aircraft at an extended stand-off range. In addition, an omnidirectional antenna provides redundancy and 360-degree coverage with reduced range capabilities. The LRTA is now offered in two versions – M1/2/5 and M3/4/6 – to support all DDL frequency bands and fit diverse mission needs.

AeroVironment Successfully Completes Sunglider Solar HAPS Stratospheric Test Flight, Surpassing 60,000 Feet Altitude and Demonstrating Broadband Mobile Connectivity

Thursday, October 8th, 2020

• Sunglider reaches stratospheric altitude in 20-hour test flight 

• Successfully demonstrates broadband mobile communication on consumer smartphones, linking teams in Tokyo, New Mexico and Silicon Valley


The HAPSMobile Inc. Sunglider™ solar-powered HAPS successfully completed its first stratospheric flight and demonstrated broadband mobile communication on September 22, 2020 (Photo: AeroVironment)

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Oct. 7, 2020 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), today announced the Sunglider™ solar-powered high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) achieved key test milestones, including reaching an altitude of more than 60,000 feet above sea level and successfully demonstrating mobile broadband communication. Sunglider’s development and testing is funded by HAPSMobile Inc., a joint venture majority-owned by SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) and minority-owned by AeroVironment.

During the test flight, which began at 5:16 am MDT on September 21 and concluded at 1:32 am MDT on September 22, the AeroVironment team piloted Sunglider to a stratospheric altitude of 62,500 feet above Spaceport America in New Mexico. Sunglider successfully achieved major test objectives relating to propulsion, power systems, flight control, navigation and datalink integrity, as well as structural performance during the most turbulent phases of the flight as it entered and exited the jet stream.

The broadband communication demonstration successfully linked teams in Tokyo, Spaceport America and Silicon Valley using an LTE payload jointly developed by Alphabet’s Loon LLC and HAPSMobile. Employing standard LTE smartphones, a team at Spaceport America conducted multiple video calls via the Sunglider’s payload while the aircraft circled for more than five hours in the stratosphere.

“In less than three years AeroVironment and HAPSMobile have made incredible progress, developing two Sunglider solar HAPS unmanned aircraft and performing five consecutive flight demonstrations, culminating in this latest significant milestone,” said Wahid Nawabi, president and chief executive officer of AeroVironment. “Reaching stratospheric altitude, maintaining continuous flight for more than 20 hours, achieving key test objectives and demonstrating seamless broadband communication illustrate the tremendous potential HAPS technology offers to expand connectivity globally. We look forward to maintaining our momentum toward aircraft certification and commercialization, working in close partnership with HAPSMobile as we establish a disruptive capability that offers tremendous value creation potential.”

The Sunglider, a solar-powered HAPS, has a wingspan of 262 feet and is propelled by 10 electric motors powered by solar panels covering the surface of the wing and rechargeable battery packs, resulting in zero emissions. Flying at an altitude of approximately 65,000 feet above sea level and above the clouds, the Sunglider can carry payloads weighing as much as 150 pounds and is designed for continuous, extended missions of months without landing.

www.avinc.com

SpearUAV Expands its Ninox Family, Unveiling the Ninox 40 Handheld – a Revolutionary Encapsulated Drone System for Immediate Manual Launch

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020

For the first time ever, immediate ISTAR capabilities are available to any soldier, law enforcement officer or homeland security personnel, independent of any other equipment.

7 October 2020.  SpearUAV – an innovative company that develops and supplies unique UAS solutions for defense and HLS applications – is unveiling its handheld version of the Ninox 40 that was unveiled just two months ago. This revolutionary encapsulated drone system offers instant launch and provides immediate intelligence capabilities to any tactical unit, even if it is not equipped with a 40 mm grenade launcher or any other special equipment.

With its unique launching system, the Ninox40 Handheld can now provide advanced capabilities to various law enforcement agencies, such as police – for use in public safety and law & order applications, prison services – for management of any disorder or prison break attempt, border guards – for situational awareness and securing sensitive infrastructure, and more.

Like the Ninox 40 micro-tactical drone system, the Ninox 40 Handheld requires no deployment. The system comprises an encapsulated drone and control unit; when launched at high speed, the drone immediately unfolds and stabilizes in the air, with no operator intervention required.

Specifically designed for single-user operation and weighing under 250 g – within regulatory limitations – it is lightweight enough to be carried in the soldier’s vest during combat. Advantages include:

Mission flexibility – Ninox 40 Handheld systems can be carried by any number of users in a unit, according to mission requirements, delivering full ISTAR capability without being dependent on any other weapon or special equipment.

Safe and intuitive – the Ninox 40 Handheld is easy to use without any special training.

Ready for immediate use – the fully-ruggedized launch capsule can be carried in a vest or in a vehicle, or stored as is, remaining ready for immediate launch on the field during a mission, without any specific maintenance or preparations being required.

The Ninox 40 Handheld has a flight capacity of up to 40 minutes, extensive ISTAR capabilities, day and night camera for enhanced situational awareness, automatic tracking, and can be launched on the move and from under cover.

“The new Ninox 40 Handheld joins the Ninox family of unique capsule drones, all of which feature breakthrough technology developed in-house at SpearUAV, with the aim of changing the battlefield and giving ground forces advanced and immediate capabilities,” says Gadi Kuperman, Founder and CEO of SpearUAV. “This is the first drone in the world to be manually launched from a capsule, giving both combat soldiers HLS forces and law enforcement personnel situational awareness in a matter of seconds, for any mission in the field. We continue to develop the system to meet the specific needs of our customers, and new versions are already undergoing field testing.”

www.spearuav.com

AeroVironment Introduces Family of Loitering Missile Systems Featuring New Switchblade 600, Delivering Precision Strike Capabilities at the Battlefield’s Edge

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

• Switchblade 600 builds on battle-proven Switchblade 300, with patented “wave-off” feature and ability to recommit, with increased range, extended endurance and multi-purpose anti-armor munition for use against larger, hardened targets  

• Lightweight, self-contained Switchblade 600 launch tube system allows for deployment flexibility from fixed and mobile platforms on land, in air or at sea  

• Switchblade 600 with advanced EO/IR gimbaled sensor suite, precision flight control and more than 40 minutes of endurance delivers immediate reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition

• New tablet-based Fire Control System allows operators to easily train, plan missions and execute flight operations

AeroVironment’s Family of Loitering Missile Systems – Switchblade® 300, Switchblade® 600, Blackwing™ Loitering Reconnaissance System (Photo: AeroVironment)

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Oct. 1, 2020 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), today announced the introduction of its family of loitering missile systems, featuring the new Switchblade 600. Switchblade 600 builds on the battle-proven track record of Switchblade 300 to define a new category of extended range loitering missiles. The U.S. Army recently awarded AeroVironment a $76 million contract award for Switchblade 300 system procurement and support as part of the Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System (LMAMS) program. Based on the same tube-launched, collapsible wing, electric propulsion architecture as Switchblade 300, the new, larger Switchblade 600 offers expanded capabilities for engaging larger, hardened targets at greater distances.

“Since pioneering the loitering missile category with Switchblade 300 more than 10 years ago, AeroVironment has worked with multiple new customers to develop scalable variants that could address new mission requirements,” said Wahid Nawabi, AeroVironment president and chief executive officer. “Now that Switchblade 300 has been adopted by the U.S. Army for its LMAMS program, our customers are eager to deploy Switchblade 600 because it can address larger, hardened targets in a more precise, rapid and cost-effective manner than legacy missile systems.  We anticipate continued expansion of our family of loitering missile systems to help our customers proceed with certainty across a broader set of missions.”

Rapidly deployable, highly maneuverable, with high performance optics and scalable munition payloads, AeroVironment’s Switchblade loitering missile systems enable the warfighter to easily launch, fly, track and engage beyond line-of-sight targets and light armored vehicles with lethal effects and minimal or no collateral damage. A required man-in-the-loop arming sequence provides positive target confirmation, while AeroVironment’s patented “wave-off” feature and recommit capability delivers the unique ability for operators to cancel an attack within seconds of impact to avoid collateral damage, and then re-engage targets on command. In addition, each system’s small form factor, and low acoustic, visual, and thermal signature make them difficult to detect, recognize or track even at close range.  

Switchblade 300

Weighing just 5.5 pounds (2.5 kilogram), Switchblade 300 is back-packable and can be deployed in less than 2 minutes via the launch tube in which it is transported, which can be easily integrated into land, air or sea platforms. Once airborne, Switchblade 300 can be remotely piloted or autonomously guided, providing up to 15 minutes of tactical reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA). Real-time video and cursor-on-target GPS coordinates provide situational awareness, information collection, targeting and feature/object recognition. Combining a dash speed of 100 mph with an advanced munition delivery, Switchblade 300 provides the warfighter with quick response and precise target prosecution against static or mobile threats, with low collateral damage.

Switchblade 600

This all-in-one, man portable, 50-pound (22.7 kilogram) solution includes everything needed to launch, fly, track and engage non line-of-sight targets with lethal effects and can be set up and operational in less than 10 minutes. Switchblade 600 deploys from the launch tube in which it is transported to allow the flexibility for ground, air or vehicle platform launches at extended stand-off range. This provides operators with superior force overmatch, while minimizing exposure to direct or indirect enemy fires. With a 115 mph dash speed and on-board anti-armor warhead, Switchblade 600 has the firepower to engage and prosecute hardened static and moving light armored vehicles from multiple angles with precise localized effects, while minimizing collateral damage.

Equipped with a high-performance EO/IR gimbaled sensor suite, precision flight control and more than 40 minutes of flight time, Switchblade 600 delivers unprecedented tactical reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA). This allows Switchblade 600 to transit up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) to a target area before conducting multiple confirmatory orbits, and engage in target prosecution – without the need for external ISR or fires assets. Should non-combatants be observed within the proximity of the target, Switchblade’s patented “wave-off” feature and recommit capability allows operators to abort the mission at any time, and then re-engage either the same or other targets multiple times based on operator command.

Also new with Switchblade 600, AeroVironment introduces a touch-screen, tablet-based Fire Control System (FCS) with tap-to-target guidance and the option to pilot the loitering missile manually or autonomously. Combined with its built-in mission planner and training simulator, the FCS provides operators with an intuitive platform to easily plan and execute missions precisely, while reducing cognitive load. Additionally, on-board AES 256 digital encryption and SAASM GPS provide the security, resilient communications and signal integrity necessary to defend against electronic warfare capabilities employed by peer and near-peer adversaries in contested environments.

“Switchblade 600 delivers an unprecedented combination of precision, control and effects on target, addressing missions previously performed with ‘fire and forget’ legacy missile systems that represented more than $1 billion in U.S. Department of Defense procurement appropriations in fiscal year 2020,” added Mr. Nawabi. “The result of our continued innovation at the intersection of robotics, sensors, software analytics and connectivity, Switchblade 600 offers next generation capabilities to our customers for operations against any adversary, in any threat environment.”  

When precision counts, AeroVironment’s family of loitering missile systems provide the actionable intelligence and precision firepower needed to achieve mission success in a wide range of increasingly complex battlefronts. Flexibly deployed from fixed ground positions, combat vehicles with integrated precision fire controls, aerial or maritime platforms, AeroVironment’s loitering missile systems provide field commanders with precision lethality across multiple domains.

AeroVironment is now accepting orders for Switchblade 300 and Switchblade 600, with expected delivery in 2021. For more information on AeroVironment’s loitering missile systems, visit www.avinc.com/tms.

Army-funded Research May Enable Drones to Run on Any Type of Fuel

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The U.S. Army recently awarded the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign an $8 million, four-year cooperative agreement to develop key technologies that may allow the Army’s unmanned air and ground vehicles to run on any type of fuel.

Researchers at the U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory expect new technologies to increase unmanned vehicle performance and reliability and increase drone efficiencies.

“The Army’s fleet of unmanned aircraft systems often experiences performance and reliability issues due to fuel property variations and their effects on the ignition,” said Dr. Mike Kweon, program manager for the lab’s Versatile Tactical Power and Propulsion Essential Research Program.

The university will research comprehensive multi-fuel chemistry and ignition assistant technologies, which add energy to engines for reliable ignition.

Engines require a mixture of air and fuel, and an ignition source–either spark or compression ignition–to operate. For compression-ignition engines, thermal energy generated by compression is insufficient when low ignition quality fuels are used especially at high altitudes and cold conditions.

To address this, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign researchers will investigate the ignition chemistry of fuels using machine learning algorithms, develop materials for novel ignition assistant technologies for flexible fuel UAVs, and investigate advanced propulsion technologies for high speed air launch effects in collaboration with Army scientists and researchers.

“We are thrilled to be taking part in development of new technologies that will be integrated into new UAV propulsion systems in the future for the Army. Equally important is training the next generation of engineers who can serve our nation in this field of science,” said Prof. Tonghun Lee, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. “This partnership is very exciting. The laboratory set out on a mission to operationalize science for transformational overmatch.”

Part of effort will expand the team to include experts in academia, small businesses and industry to push concepts and ideas into future capabilities for the Army, Lee said.

“The University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign has expertise and capability to perform research in multi-fuel chemistry and ignition assistance in a partnership with the Army to advance these technologies and to provide future capabilities for the warfighter,” he said.

This university-led research project is one of 11 funded this summer by the Army’s corporate laboratory as a part of Center for UAS Propulsion efforts to develop technologies for multi-fuel capable hybrid-electric engines. Each university partner is helping the Army address the energy demand required to power future unmanned vehicles. The Army awarded additional funding for similar research at the University of Minnesota; University of Michigan; University of Wisconsin-Madison; University of Illinois at Chicago; Iowa State University; University of Delaware; University of North Texas; Texas A&M University; University of Missouri and University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

The research, slated to begin this fall, is part of a larger research portfolio of multi-fuel capabilities technologies led by the laboratory that supports the Army Modernization Priority for Future Vertical Lift. Most recently, the laboratory announced the development of a new, advanced scientific model that will allow vehicle maintenance specialists to turn to bio-derived fuels in austere locations, as well as efforts to convert a home-based generator into a power source for autonomous ground and air vehicles.

By US Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs