Israeli unmanned air system manufacturer Aeronautics Defense Systems is working on two new power packs for its products. One is a hybrid engine, while the other will use heavy fuel.

Aeronautics is conducting tests with a new hybrid engine for its Orbiter 3, which deputy chief executive Dany Eshchar says will enable the system to stretch its endurance up to 20h. Currently, the air vehicle has a maximum 7h endurance.

Eshchar says that while the efficiency of a fuel engine is three times greater than a battery-powered one, the electric phase is crucial when reaching the operational area. “It is a good idea to use a fuel engine for range and an electric one for stealthy operation,” he notes.

Aeronautics’ Italian subsidiary, Zanzottera Engines, is developing the heavy fuel powerplant. “We already conducted tests with this 498hp engine on one of our Aerostar UAS,” Eshchar reveals.

The demand for heavy fuel engines for large UAS is increasing because it offers greater commonality with other vehicles and improved safety.