Full Content is available to subscribers

Subscribe/Learn More  >

A Hybrid Propulsion System for a High-Endurance UAV: Configuration Selection and Aerodynamic Study

[+] Author Affiliations
Roberto Capata, Luca Marino, Enrico Sciubba

Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy

Paper No. IMECE2011-62272, pp. 767-774; 8 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 11: Nano and Micro Materials, Devices and Systems; Microsystems Integration
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5497-6
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


In recent years, a renewed interest in the development of unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) led to a wide range of interesting applications in the fields of reconnaissance and surveillance. In these types of mission, the noise produced by propeller driven UAVs is a major drawback, which can be partially solved by installing an electric motor to drive the propeller. The evolution of high performance brushless motors makes electric propulsion particularly appealing, at least for small and medium size UAVs. All electric propulsion systems developed to date are though penalized by the limited range/endurance that can be provided by a reasonably sized battery pack. In this paper we propose a hybrid propulsion system based on a recently developed, high efficiency microturbine which can be used to power an electric generator, thus providing a significant range/mission time extension. The UMTG is undergoing operational testing in our Laboratory, to identify its most suitable configuration and to improve its performance: a new compact regenerative combustion chamber was developed and several tests were performed to reduce its weight and size so as to increase the vehicle payload. In a high range/endurance mission the ultramicro turbine drives the electrical motor that powers the propeller only during the cruise phase (the so-called “transfer to target”), while in the final approach, in which a quiet flight attitude is mandatory, a (smaller) battery pack drives the motor directly and the UMTG is turned off. The mission requirements considered for the preliminary design of the UAV consist of a long endurance (> 12 hours) step, with a cruise speed of 33.3 m/s and a dash speed of 45 m/s at an altitude of 5000 meters. The maximum take-off weight is 500 N, with a payload of 80 N. Under the above assumptions, a flying wing configuration for the UAV was defined, with a length of 1.6 meters and a span of 2.5 meters. A system of elevons assures the pitch and roll motion while a double vertical tail, in which a pusher propeller is lodged, guarantees the yaw stability and control.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



Interactive Graphics


Country-Specific Mortality and Growth Failure in Infancy and Yound Children and Association With Material Stature

Use interactive graphics and maps to view and sort country-specific infant and early dhildhood mortality and growth failure data and their association with maternal

Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In