Heavy Fuel Engines for Heavy Lift Drones: Orbital UAV and Animal Dynamics

heavy fuel engines heavy lift drones Orbital UAV, Animal DynamicsOrbital UAV and Animal Dynamics Sign MoU, Explore Fuel Engine Systems

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

Integrated propulsion systems leader Orbital UAV and uncrewed aerial logistics company Animal Dynamics have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The two companies will work together to explore initial concepts for a heavy fuel engine system for Animal Dynamics’s Stork-STM, a heavy lift UAS designed to carry up to 135 kg for a maximum range of 400 km in harsh environments. Orbital UAV will leverage its experience with industry leading engines capable of operating in extreme temperatures, and will aid in accelerating Stork-STM’s commercial deployment.

“Animal Dynamics represents an exciting opportunity to take Orbital UAV’s patented engine technology into the European market and expand our global reach,” said Orbital UAV CEO and Managing Director Todd Alder. “Stork-STM is a ground-breaking UAS, that will create a unique solution for the defence sector, and beyond.”

“Orbital represent our first choice to develop the best possible powertrain for our vehicle,” added Animal Dynamics CEO Kevin Allington. “We’re confident our customers will be able to rely on their performant and reliable technology in the most difficult operating environments.”

heavy fuel engines heavy lift drones Orbital UAV Animal Dynamics

In addition to Stork-STM, the engine system will power Australia’s Pelican, currently being developed in Sydney alongside Animal Dynamics and Omega Dev Group.

“Orbital’s world class engineering is another good reason for the Australian Defence Force to be confident that our Pelican UAV brings class leading performance and value for money,” said Omega Dev CEO Blair Hickey.

Heavy fuel engine capability remains a growing requirement for the global UAS market. With an increase in parties seeking to meet this requirement, Orbital UAV’s unique technology and industry leading engine performance continues to draw new customers.

“The logistical and safety benefits of heavy fuel – combined with Orbital UAV’s patented technology and proven capability – continue to drive our global growth opportunity,” said Alder. “We already have established contracts with prime contractors in the USA and our major Singapore defence customer. This opportunity with Animal Dynamics expands our global reach and builds on a number of other near-term opportunities.”

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Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.

DJI Achieves Encryption Recognition from U.S Department of Commerce

DJI Core Crypto Engine passes Cryptographic Module Validation Program (CMVP) to receive Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2

DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, today reinforces its commitment to customer data and privacy with the validation of the DJI Core Crypto Engine. The engine is a firmware hybrid cryptographic module which provides foundational security services for the entire platform, including cryptography, key management, platform identity, secure boot, and secure Life Cycle State (LCS).

Formally validated by the U.S. and Canadian Governments, FIPS 140-2 compliance has been widely adopted around the world in both governmental and non-governmental sectors as a practical security benchmark and realistic best practice. The standard ensures that the hardware validated meets specific security requirements.

“When it comes to data, DJI has very strong principles around transparent usage, security and privacy. We truly believe that ‘customer data is none of our business’ and understand how important data security is for the people, businesses and government agencies that rely on our platforms,” said Christina Zhang, Senior Director of Corporate Strategy at DJI“This encryption validation is testament to how tirelessly we strive to make customer data and privacy more secure by tightening existing systems, innovating new ones and embracing new methods and technologies.”

From this point on, all DJI drones containing the DJI Core Crypto Engine ensure that whether flown for leisure or operated for business, customers are treated to trusted, authoritative and globally recognised security standards. This is particularly key for enterprise or government customers requiring this specification and additional peace of mind.

To find out more about DJI’s data access, data use and data storage, visit the dedicated Data Security website here https://security.dji.com/data/overview/

Orbital Corp secures AeroVironment as a customer

US defence company AeroVironment Inc. acquires new heavy fuel engine for testing on its JUMP® 20 tactical UAV

PERTH, AUSTRALIA: Orbital Corporation Ltd (‘Orbital UAV’, ‘the Company’) is pleased to announce it has received an order from US defence technology company AeroVironment Inc. for the supply of the Company’s newest heavy fuel engine for assessment.

“We are delighted to confirm this new relationship with one of the most significant players in the US and
global tactical UAS markets. The opportunity to work with AeroVironment is yet another demonstration of
the diversification of our customer portfolio and the growing reputation of our superior heavy fuel engine technology,” said Todd Alder, CEO and Managing Director of Orbital UAV.

AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV) is a global leader in uncrewed aircraft systems (‘UAS’) and services.
In February 2021 the company acquired Arcturus UAV, a leading provider of Group 2 and 3 UAS.
AeroVironment now offers customers a complete set of Group 1 through 3 UAS (including the JUMP®
20 and PumaTM platforms), tactical missile systems (including the Switchblade® 600), high altitude
pseudo-satellites and unmanned ground vehicle solutions.

“With the acquisition of Arcturus, AeroVironment provides an expanded product range incorporating
platforms highly relevant to Orbital UAV’s technology and capabilities. We look forward to working with AeroVironment to demonstrate the superiority of our heavy fuel engine capability and exploring opportunities where we can further support their current and future objectives,” said Mr Alder.

In August 2022, the US Army confirmed AeroVironment had been awarded the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) Increment 1 Other Transaction Agreement for one JUMP® 20 system.

FTUAS is the US Army’s replacement program for the currently fielded RQ-7B Shadow UAS in ground manoeuvre brigade combat teams.

According to an Army announcement, “Increment 1 leverages lessons-learned from the year-long FTUAS demonstration and will field readily available mature technologies in response to a Directed Requirement from the Army Futures Command.” Increment 2 acquisition – which will be crucial in selecting the final ‘program of record’ for Army – is continuing independently of but in parallel with the Increment 1 award and testing.

“US Army’s FTUAS program represents one of the most prominent and significant opportunities within
the global tactical UAS market,” said Mr Alder.

“Amongst many requirements, capability for the UAS vehicle to run on heavy fuel remains key. Orbital UAV has had a long-term strategy to track this program and has built relationships with several suppliers down selected in the Army’s acquisition process. This order from AeroVironment further establishes
Orbital UAV’s positive position in relation to the program,” said Mr Alder.

The engine for assessment will be delivered in H2 FY23. This announcement does not affect Orbital UAV’s FY23 revenue forecast of $20-$25M.

GA-ASI Tests PT6 E-Series engine from Pratt & Whitney on MQ-9B RPA
GA-ASI Tests PT6 E-Series engine from Pratt & Whitney on MQ-9B RPA

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) tested a PT6 E-Series model turboprop engine from Pratt & Whitney Canada on GA-ASI’s MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). Multiple full-power engine tests were performed at GA-ASI’s Desert Horizon flight operations facility in El Mirage, Calif.

“We’ve enjoyed a long-term relationship with Pratt & Whitney,” said GA-ASI President David R. Alexander. “Integrating their PT6 E-Series engine onto our MQ-9B SkyGuardian® aircraft offers an alternate option for future customers that includes a 33 percent increase in power, dual channel electronic propeller and engine control system, as well as all the benefits of the PT6 engine family.”

The PT6 E-Series is a reliable and versatile turboprop engine family that will deliver the performance characteristics required as GA-ASI continues its development of MQ-9B capabilities.

“Our PT6 E-series is the ideal engine for this mission and we look forward to working with General Atomics on this important program,” said Jill Albertelli, president of Pratt & Whitney Military Engines.

MQ-9B represents the next generation of RPA system having demonstrated airborne endurance of more than 40 hours in certain configurations, automatic takeoffs and landings under SATCOM-only control, as well as a GA-ASI developed Detect and Avoid system. Its development is the result of a company-funded effort to deliver an RPA that can meet the stringent airworthiness certification requirements of various military and civil authorities.

GA-ASI has enjoyed a long-term collaboration with Pratt & Whitney for over a decade with their turbofan engine for GA-ASI’s MQ-20 Avenger RPA.

Orbital UAV signs $3.5M contract with Singapore Defence customer - sUAS News - The Business of Drones
Orbital UAV signs $3.5M contract with Singapore Defence customer – sUAS News – The Business of Drones

UAV engine development program progresses to second stage of engineering work and provides pathway to production

PERTH, AUSTRALIA: Orbital Corporation Ltd (‘Orbital UAV’, ‘the Company’) is pleased to announce it has signed a contract worth A$3.5 million with its major Singapore customer.

The second stage engineering contract follows the initial engine design, development and integration
contract signed in 2020 and the successful delivery and acceptance of three prototype engine systems
delivered across 2021.

“We are delighted to move this significant program into the next stage of development. With this contract, we now have a clearly defined pathway through to production, representing an opportunity for Orbital UAV to establish itself in a new geography with growth potential in the mid-term,” said Todd Alder, CEO and Managing Director of Orbital UAV.

Orbital UAV signed a Memorandum of Understanding (‘MoU’) and initial contract with its Singapore based customer in March 2020 for the design, development and production of multi-fuel UAV engines (see ASX announcement 19 March 2020). As outlined in the MoU, both parties have now agreed terms
and conditions for the next phase of the program.

The Design & Development and Verification & Validation contract signed will see Orbital UAV
conduct further engineering work and deliver three additional prototype engine systems during financial
year 2023.

Subject to the successful delivery and acceptance of the work outlined, the parties have agreed a timeline
for the delivery of production-quality engine systems beginning in financial year 2024.

“This contract demonstrates the material progress we have achieved with our prestigious Singapore
customer and our broader customer diversification strategy. We look forward to delivering this phase of
the program over the next 12 months and taking the next step towards production,” said Mr Alder.
The latest contract is effective from July 2022.

AlarisPro unveils new spare parts inventory module for the world’s most comprehensive Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) management platform
Suter TOA288 Engine Utilized by Volansi on their VOLY M20 and VOLY 50 Series Drones

Suter Industries announced today that their Suter TOA288 24hp UAV engine was selected by Volansi to provide propulsion for their VOLY M20 and VOLY 50 Series Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) drones. Volansi is a leader in aerial drone logistics services for customers in the defense, commercial, and humanitarian markets. Volansi VTOL aircraft are designed for long endurance, heavy payloads and to perform in challenging environments, providing surveillance as well as essential parts and supplies to the field.

Volansi has been flying the Voly M20 and 50 Series with Suter’s TOA288 engine. Both the Voly M20 and the 50 Series utilize eight electric motors for the VTOL portion of its flight and the Suter TOA288 engine provides forward flight propulsion and power generation. The Voly M20 can carry 20 pounds of cargo and the 50 Series can carry up to 50 pounds of cargo providing a low footprint runway independent cargo delivery solution for civil and defense applications.

The Suter TOA288 is a twin cylinder, horizontal opposed, air cooled, two cycle engine, with fuel saving electronic engine management system and a 1kW starter/generator. Displacement is 288cm3. Power: 17.5kW (24HP) @6500rpm. The engine was a design collaboration between CAE GmbH and Suter Industries combining CAE’s 25 years of manned & unmanned 2-stroke engine experience with Suter’s over 25 years of 2-stroke motorcycle racing design & manufacturing experience. The result is a high performance, reliable, world class UAV engine currently produced in Switzerland.

Dietrich Kehe, CEO and founder of CAE GmbH said, “We are excited to be working with Volansi to optimize our Suter TOA288 engine to meet the aircraft thrust, fuel economy, reliability and durability requirements to expand their product capabilities.” Eskil Suter, CEO of Suter Industries went on to say, “We are able to utilize our world class manufacturing & testing facility to provide development and production engines very quickly to Volansi and we look forward to supporting the production demand for this engine.”

“Volansi needed a reliable 24hp UAV engine to meet growing demand for our cargo delivery drones and we turned to Suter/CAE for a solution,” said Steve Morris, VP of Aircraft Engineering for Volansi. “We have been flying this new engine for over a year and are very happy with the results allowing us to meet payload, reliability and endurance requirements while also allowing opportunities for further product enhancements over time including heavy fuel capability.”

About Suter Industries:
Suter Industries’ roots go back to motorcycle racing era of the 1990s. Eskil Suter was a successful Grand Prix racing driver and founded the Suter Racing company in 1996. The company is known for their “SuterClutch” and other products for the motorcycle racing market including high-performance engines, motorcycles and various components. In 2015, Suter Racing launched a four-cylinder two-stroke racing machine with the worldwide exclusive Suter500, which was developed completely in-house. Since 2002 Suter Industries applied the expertise gained from engine development to other areas of relevance in vehicle, aviation and defense industries. To learn more visit: https://www.suter-aviation.ch/

About CAE GmbH:
CAE GmbH is lead by Dietrich Kehe who is a mechanical engineer with over 24 years’ experience in manned and unmanned 2-stroke aircraft engines. He received his engineering degree with a focus on combustion engines from the University of Hochschule für Technik – Esslingen (Stuttgart, Germany area). Dietrich has developed clean sheet engine designs for advanced UAV applications utilizing advanced electronic fuel injection (including direct injection) technology. These solutions are flying on some of the world’s most advanced UAV applications. CAE GmbH has teamed with Suter to develop world class UAV engines for the global market.

About Volansi:
Volansi is the leader in aerial drone logistics services for customers in the defense, commercial, and humanitarian markets. Volansi VTOL aircraft are designed for long endurance, heavy payloads and to perform in challenging environments, providing surveillance as well as essential parts and supplies to the field. To learn more, visit www.volansi.com or follow us on @volans_i

About UAV Propulsion Tech:
Schmidt Products, LLC (dba UAV Propulsion Tech) is a privately held US company that markets global UAV technology into the defense and commercial UAV markets, and is the US representative for Suter Industries. To learn more, visit www.uavpropulsiontech.com.

Sky Power GmbH collaborate with Zerosum technologies in India - sUAS News - The Business of Drones
Sky Power GmbH collaborate with Zerosum technologies in India – sUAS News – The Business of Drones
Sky Power GmbH collaborate with Zerosum technologies in India

The world leader in UAV engine technology, Germany based Sky Power GmbH has tied up with Zerosum Technologies, India to provide class-leading UAV propulsion systems to the local growing and maturing market. The relationship between the two companies is expected to go beyond marketing the Sky Power products. Mr Karsten Schudt, Managing Director of Sky Power said, “India is a unique and growing market for UAVs due to recent legislative changes. We are looking to understand the local customer requirements and develop solutions specific to India.” ZerosumTechnologies is looking to set up a center to provide engine testing facility locally and also to maintain spare parts in India so as to quickly meet the after-sales requirements. As per Mr Jai Sharma, Head Marketing of Zerosum

“India requires technology infusion from the best in class companies to accelerate the process of being ‘Atma-nirbhar’ in the UAV domain. Sky Power GmbH is a world leader in two-stroke and wankel propulsion systems and future engine development technology, which fits our company’s mission to meet the increase in demand for right products.” The company is looking to assemble the engines locally if there is adequate demand from the Indian customer.

Sky Power and Zerosum will be providing end-to-end solutions for UAV systems from 25 up to 150kg MTOW in varying configurations with TRL9 solutions and decades of industry experience consisting of complex international projects, global supply chain management, industry-leading precision engineering and unrivalled quality control to ensure the best-in-class engine systems.

About Sky Power

Sky Power International is a leading manufacturer of 2-stroke combustion- and Wankel engines for UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) and hybrid applications. Besides in-house development and manufacturing, Sky Power International produces all engines in Germany. Custom adaptations, new developments and continuous performance improvements of the combustion engines are ongoing company objectives.

More information: www.skypower.online