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New heavy-fuel engines for small UAVs

Engine companies Ricardo, NW UAV and XRDi have announced the formation of an partnership to design and build heavy-fuel engines for unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). The new two-stroke engine will be branded Wolverine.

The group is in advanced discussions with "the major players" in the small UAV industry, said XRDi president Forrest Bowen, encompassing both a retrofit for existing UAVs and propulsion for new ones. Wolverine has previously been tested on Raytheon's KillerBee and AAI's RQ-7 Shadow.

 

 ©Raytheon

The Wolverine line will range from five to 50 horsepower. Though the engine is still in development, "We've been working cooperatively with Ricardo and NW UAV for over six months," said Bowen. "So there are a number of groups in the [aerospace] community that are aware of our relationship."

The US military has significant interest in incorporating heavy fuels to simplify its complex fuel supply chain.

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