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Special Report

High Performance Actuator Technology

UAV Actuator Challenges Rising Demand for Actuators and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Rapid Development for UAS Technology Actuators and UAS in Action UAS, Actuators and the Future

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media


VOLZ SERVOS

Manufacturer of actuators since 1983 DA 20-T  fly-by-wire actuator to be directly coupled to the throttle valve shaft  vibration resistant due to brushless DC motor and wear free position sensor  > 40 Ncm, (> 60 oz-in)  58 g, (2.0 oz)

DA 22 BLDC  brushless DC motor  wear free position sensor  ISS gear protection system  PWM and RS 485 interface  360 Ncm  230°/s  145 g (5.1 oz)

DA 26-90°  right angle output shaft  self-locking gear train  oil-filled marine bronze case  brushless DC motor  wear free position sensor  PWM and RS 485 interface  350 Ncm (500 oz-in)  280°/s 230 g (8 oz) w/o oil

DA 26 brushless DC motor wear free position sensor ISS gear protection system PWM, RS422, RS485 and redundant RS485 interface  500 Ncm (800 oz-in)  270 g (9.5 oz)    

VOLZ SERVOS GmbH & Co. KG Kaiserstrasse 15 · 63065 Offenbach · Germany · Phone +49.69.985 580-0 · Fax +49.69.985 580-40 WWW.VOLZ-SERVOS.COM


SPECIAL REPORT: HIGH PERFORMANCE ACTUATOR TECHNOLOGY

SPECIAL REPORT

High Performance Actuator Technology

UAV Actuator Challenges

Contents

Rising Demand for Actuators and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Rapid Development for UAS Technology Actuators and UAS in Action UAS, Actuators and the Future

Foreword

2

Mary Dub, Editor

UAV Actuator Challenges

3

Mark Juhrig, Chief Technology Officer, Volz Servos GmbH & Co. KG

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: info@globalbusinessmedia.org Website: www.globalbusinessmedia.org Publisher Kevin Bell Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks Editor Mary Dub Senior Project Manager Steve Banks Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes Production Manager Paul Davies For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated. Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles. © 2013. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

From Early Beginnings Technological Advances Provide Faster Response and Reduce Position Errors Continuing Demands Greater Customisation Looking to the Future

Rising Demand for Actuators and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

6

Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

The Value of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Controversial Use of UCAVS The Issue of Reliability The Critical Role of Actuators in UAS

Rapid Development for UAS Technology

8

Mary Dub, Editor

The Result a Surge in Innovation New Enhanced Role for UAS Handling the Reliability Safety Issue The Force Multiplication and Manning Issue Power for UAS

Actuators and UAS in Action

10

Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

The Critical Role of Certification Safety Integrity Level (SIL) Certification Meeting Global Demand for UAS Innovation Israeli-American Co-Production of High Technology Actuators and Parts for UAS and Missiles The Qinetiq Zephyr Experimental Solar Powered Lightweight UAV

UAS, Actuators and the Future

12

Mary Dub, Editor

Technical Challenges for the Future UAS Use for Homeland Defense FAA Hurdles to Overcome for Use of UAS in Civilian Airspace The Challenge from Blimps UAS and Actuators in an Age of Austerity and Defense Cuts

References 14

Cover Image – Schiebel Camcopter S 100 – fully equipped with Volz Servos. www.defenceindustryreports.com | 1


SPECIAL REPORT: HIGH PERFORMANCE ACTUATOR TECHNOLOGY

Foreword A

ctuators are the unseen but essential

become the focus of military interest in the United

components that start, guide and drive

States and the Asia Pacific region. This growth

remote aerial platforms, with critical value in the

has been fuelled by rapid technical change in the

case of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. This

component market for essential items like actuators,

special report looks at how the surge in innovative

which now offer lighter, less power-hungry and more

development and use of UAS has been founded

rugged features.

on rapid change and adaptation to the market

The third piece illuminates a discussion of the

by the makers of actuators to facilitate the new

issues around the technical limitations to UAS. It

critical role drones now have in modern military

illustrates how the components industry is meeting

and civilian capabilities.

the challenge to develop systems and components

The first article in this Special Report looks at the development of actuators for the UAV market.

that deliver the features that the US and other militaries require.

Originally, these were sourced from the radio

Keeping one eye on Israeli component

controlled hobby market, which called for high

manufacturers in the field of drone warfare is a

performing actuators rather than those that offered

vital policy. The Israelis have led from the front in

extended reliability or fail-safe operation. More

the field of technical and tactical innovation. Other

recently, actuators were designed which solely

contractors partner with their industry and have

targeted the UAV market and industrial applications.

proved successful in driving development in fields

These actuators weighed half of the biggest hobby

like energy management and solar power.

actuators, but produced three times more stall torque

Peering into the future is always a high-risk

and four times more continuous output power. As

endeavour. However, in the field of civilian and

the UAV market grows, there is ongoing demand for

military drone use, the UAS meets the need for

reliability and more customised actuators and this will

delivering lower cost capabilities for a multi role

continue into the future with emphasis on improving

capability. This must be a winning formula for

performance and durability as well as implementing

UAS manufacturers and their component makers.

new application-specific actuator features. The second article describes the rising demand for UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems). From a start early in the 20th century, 21st century drones have

Mary Dub Editor

Mary Dub has covered the defence field in the United States and the UK as a television broadcaster, journalist and conference manager.

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SPECIAL REPORT: HIGH PERFORMANCE ACTUATOR TECHNOLOGY

UAV Actuator Challenges

VOLZ SERVOS

Mark Juhrig, Chief Technology Officer, Volz Servos GmbH & Co. KG www.volz-servos.com

Manufacturer of actuators since 1983

mail@volz-servos.com

A

ctuators sourced from the radio controlled hobby market were primarily used when the UAV market started to pick up speed some twenty years ago. At that point in time, most UAVs were as small as radio controlled model aircraft. They were lightweight and rather inexpensive compared to today’s UAVs. Hence, the performance, reliability and safety requirements were relatively low, so that the RC hobby market was able to serve most UAV programs. However, it did not take a long time for the UAV market to call for very special actuators with specific features in order to satisfy the needs of evolving UAV programs. As UAV platforms got bigger and heavier, payloads became more valuable and operators also wanted to use the public airspace. The first actuators which were exclusively produced for the UAV market were still based on high-end hobby market actuators but it did not take long until the first actuators were developed and produced exclusively for the UAV market. This article is reviewing the major requirements that are driving the development of UAV actuators today.

DA 22 BLDC featuring a brushless motor and a Hall sensor

From Early Beginnings In the early days, the UAV market called for high performing actuators rather than for actuators that offered extended reliability or fail-safe operation. The strongest hobby actuators offered stall torques of some 150 Ncm at best and no load speeds of some 180°/s. The UAV market however started quickly to ask for actuators that could deliver 150 Ncm continuous torque at a speed of 180°/s. Hobby actuators are typically operated at 5 to 6 Volts DC and they normally feature a plastic housing and gear train. Only a few feature a partial metal gear train. The plastic casing together with the low voltage is the biggest obstacle for hobby market actuator designs to evolve in delivering higher continuous torque output. The plastic casing (and gear train) will simply be overloaded, wear out quickly or even break. The low voltage would call for very high currents to deliver the required power in order to produce such continuous torque numbers at high speeds. Only actuators that featured an aluminum

casing, a full metal gear train and the capability to operate on higher voltages were able to overcome these limitations. This was the point in time when Volz Servos started to design the first actuators which were solely targeting the UAV market and industrial applications as it was clear that fiddling around with further improvements to the already existing designs would not yield the expected results. The outcome was an actuator which weighed half of the biggest hobby actuators but producing three times more stall torque and four times higher continuous output power. In addition it outperformed its hobby market predecessors by orders of magnitude in the number of possible cycles of operation. In order to avoid destroying the actuator’s gear train caused by high radial shock loads e.g. triggered by rough landing, net recovery or mishandling, Volz developed the Integrated Servo Saver System (ISS). With a lock-out

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SPECIAL REPORT: HIGH PERFORMANCE ACTUATOR TECHNOLOGY

It did not take a long time

of the brushless DC motor. All actuator features and control loop parameters are configurable using a PC configuration application. The configuration software also allows uploading information from the actuator such as the serial number or hours of operation. Implementing all those features requires fitting larger amounts of electronic components into the actuator. Higher integration and multi printed circuit board designs solve this problem.

for the UAV market to call for very special actuators with specific features

Continuing Demands

in order to satisfy the needs of evolving UAV programs. As UAV platforms got bigger

DA 15 BLDC integrating all state of the art features (including BLDC, Hall and ISS) into a micro sized casing

and heavier, payloads became more valuable and operators also wanted to use the public airspace.

momentum set to a higher level than the maximum torque of the actuator, the drive shaft will slip if a radial shock-load is applied but as the output shaft is always coupled to the position sensor it will move back to its commanded position afterwards.

The list of requirements keeps growing as fast as the UAV market grows. Reliability has been a major requirement since the very beginning. UAV malfunctions resulted only rarely from failing actuators but in many cases from issues with the cabling or power supply problems. A potentially failing communication with the actuator or a malfunction due to loss of power is a big concern to UAV designers. The best way to avoid those failure modes is redundancy. Volz Servos introduced a redundant RS-485 communication and power supply interface for their biggest actuator at the time in order to provide an answer to this concern. Additional diagnostic information is captured and made available to the flight control system through the bus interface. Diagnostic data such as the actuator’s current consumption or the voltage levels of the two power supply terminals, motor and circuit board temperatures are provided to determine the health of the actuator.

Technological Advances Provide Faster Response and Reduce Position Errors Now the motor and the potentiometer of the position sensing system became the major lifetime limiting components of the actuator design. Getting rid of any brushes in those components would result in yet another quantum leap in terms of durability. Brushless DC motors, featuring rare earth magnets are about to replace their brushed predecessors. Integrated, HallSensor based position sensors are replacing the analog potentiometers and provide the shaft position information in digital format to the closed loop control. At the same time many customers request for digital communication interfaces to control and configure the actuators, such as a digital RS-485 serial bus interface, which is very susceptible to electromagnetic interference. All this allows building a fully digital closed position control loop, which provides faster response and reduces position errors. Configurable protective features were added to the closed loop control algorithms to prevent thermal overload conditions

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DA 26 featuring a redundant RS 485 interface


SPECIAL REPORT: HIGH PERFORMANCE ACTUATOR TECHNOLOGY

Greater Customisation The market also calls for more and more customized actuators in order to allow for a better integration of the actuators within the airframe, payload, or engine. One example is an actuator for the actuation of the butterfly valve in the throttle body of internal combustion engines. Such an actuator needs a customized mechanical interface in order to couple with the shaft that turns the butterfly valve. The actuator also needs to operate at higher ambient temperatures as they exist near any internal combustion engine. All the used actuator components need to be selected and qualified for those challenging environmental conditions such as temperature, vibration, shock loads and electromagnetic noise. A teach-in feature allows adjusting the actuator to the mechanical end points of a throttle body to compensate mechanical tolerances. The aluminum actuator housings of Volz actuators feature a special surface treatment, which provides an optimum protection against corrosion in the harsh environment as it exists under the engine cowling.

VOLZ SERVOS Manufacturer of actuators since 1983

DA 26-90° - customized actuator featuring a selflocking gear train, right-angled out-put shaft and optional oil-filling for deep-sea applications

Throttle actuator DA 20-T

actuator calls, however, for fairly thorough predesign work as all potential failure modes and risks have to be analyzed, estimated, mitigated or avoided. The certification of a UAV actuator will create yet another challenge that needs to be tackled. The actuator’s bus interface is another area for enhancements. There is a growing interest in using standardized, CAN-based busses. This will allow a much deeper integration of the actuators into the UAV’s flight control system.

Looking to the Future The list of new requirements coming from the UAV market keeps growing. This list ranges from simple adaptation requests of the existing range of actuators up to the need for a fully redundant and fail-safe actuator, which is certified by civil and military aviation authorities. A fully redundant actuator design may reuse many existing design elements that are incorporated in today’s actuator range. The design of a redundant

In summary it can be said that the evolution of actuators used in UAVs was quite substantial within the last years. The focus has primarily been on improving performance and durability, but also on implementing new applicationspecific actuator features. In the future the focus will be clearly on safety and fail-safe operation of UAVs, which require coming up with entirely new concepts and designs.

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Rising Demand for Actuators and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

In 2000, Congress set the goal of making “onethird of the aircraft in the operational deep strike force aircraft fleet” unmanned.

U

nmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or UAS when combined with ground control stations and data links, form unmanned aerial systems. ‘Actuators’ usually activate these systems. UAS are now an integral and increasingly important part of the world’s aviation resources. They have many military and civilian uses. Their most common military role is in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, performing missions such as monitoring area roads for weapons movements and conducting battle damage assessment. They have proved of value in conflicts such as Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and in humanitarian relief operations such as Haiti, which revealed the advantages and disadvantages provided by unmanned aircraft. Conventional wisdom states that UAS offer two main advantages over manned aircraft: they are considered more cost-effective, and they minimize the risk to a pilot’s life. For these reasons and others, the Department of Defense’s unmanned aircraft inventory increased more than 40-fold from 2002 to 2010. UAVs range from the size of an insect to a commercial airliner. The Pentagon currently possesses five types of UAVs in large numbers: the Air Force’s Predator, Reaper, and Global Hawk; and the Army’s Hunter and Shadow. Other key UAV developmental efforts include the Air Force’s RQ-170 Sentinel; the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS), MQ-8 Fire Scout, and Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) UAV; and the Marine Corps’ Small Tactical Unmanned Aerial System.1

The Value of Unmanned Aircraft Systems The thinking behind UAS is to protect the lives of pilots by performing those dull, dirty, or dangerous missions that do not require a pilot in the cockpit. UAS may also be cheaper to procure and operate than manned aircraft. However, the lower procurement cost of UAS can be weighed against their greater tendency to crash. So the 6 | www.defenceindustryreports.com

minimized risk to on-board crew can be weighed against the complications and hazards inherent in flying unmanned vehicles in airspace shared with manned assets. Their development has been rapid in recent years, but they have been around awhile. Although only recently procured in significant numbers by the United States, UAS were first tested during World War I, although not used in combat by the United States during that war. Indeed, it was not until the Vietnam War that the United States employed UAS such as the AQM- 34 Firebee in a combat role. The Firebee exemplifies the versatility of UAS – initially flown in the 1950s as an aerial gunnery target and then in the 1960s as an intelligencecollection drone, it was modified to deliver payloads and flew its first flight test as an armed UAV in 2002. And Congress has encouraged their rising use. Notably, in 2000, Congress set the goal of making “one-third of the aircraft in the operational deep strike force aircraft fleet” unmanned. Now the context is much more mixed with defense cuts and swingeing cost cutting exercises across the board.

Controversial Use of UCAVS A separate class of UAS has been designed from the ground up to carry out combat missions. Called unmanned combat air vehicles, or UCAVs, these systems feature greater payload, speed, and stealth than current UAS. Their use by the United States Department of Defense and the CIA in border areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan have been called “targeted killings” and their use in a counter terrorism strategy is highly controversial. However, the political storm and headlines created by armed drone use have not yet stopped their frequent use.

The Issue of Reliability While unmanned aerial vehicles offer cost saving effectiveness over piloted planes, this ceases to be the case if there are frequent reliability problems with UAS or crashes. Unfortunately, up until recently, UAS have been accident-prone. A 2010 media study reported


SPECIAL REPORT: HIGH PERFORMANCE ACTUATOR TECHNOLOGY

VOLZ SERVOS Manufacturer of actuators since 1983

Volz Servos DA 15 has proven its reliability in the AAI Aerosonde

that: “thirty-eight Predator and Reaper drones had crashed during combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and nine more during training on bases in the U.S. with each crash costing between $3.7 million and $5 million. Altogether, the Air Force says there have been 79 drone accidents costing at least $1 million each.” In 2004, the Defense Science Board indicated that relatively high UAV mishap rates might impede the widespread fielding of UAVs. Although most UAV accidents have been attributed to human error, investment in reliability upgrades appears to be another high priority for UAS.

The Critical Role of Actuators in UAS Every UAS and most missiles and a range of other civilian applications use electronic actuators to commence operation of a variety of functions. The market for actuators is vigorous, diversified and complex and has to meet the needs of an increasingly demanding military customer range. And as the global demand and use of the latest UAS has expanded significantly in the last 20 years, so has the demand for actuators.

In an analysis of the world market for UAS, Strategic Directions International predicted that the global UAV payload market is expected to value US$43.7 billion by the end of 2012, which is estimated to increase to US$68.6 billion by 2022, representing a CAGR2 of 4.6% during the forecast period. Market demand is anticipated to be driven by increased UAV procurement by several countries across the world and continuous requirement formulations in areas such as persistent surveillance, suppression/ destruction of enemy air defense (SEAD/DEAD), communications relays and combat search and rescue (CSAR)3. Propelled by a rise in Asian defense budgets, annual global spending on UAVs is forecast to almost double from the current $5.9 billion to $11.3 billion over the next decade, according to U.S. based defense research firm the Teal Group. The Asia Pacific is the second largest buyer after the United States. “Almost every country in the region is trying to get their hands on drones or develop their own... Thailand, India, Singapore, Japan, Australia, Korea,” said Jon Grevatt of IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly.4

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Rapid Development for UAS Technology Mary Dub, Editor

By performing tasks such as surveillance, signals intelligence (SIGINT), precision target designation, mine detection, and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) reconnaissance, unmanned systems have made key contributions to the Global War on Terror.

T

he period of UAS innovation has coincided with on-going U.S. combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Demand for UAS capabilities in the field has essentially been unconstrained. As new systems and capabilities have emerged, the availability of urgent-needs funding has allowed commanders to bring the latest technology into theatre without lengthy procurement processes. So, instead of traditional competitions in which systems may be tested against each other in advance of operations, new UAS have been deployed directly to the field, where U.S. forces are able to experiment with and exploit their capabilities. The combination of funding, demand, and technological innovation has resulted in the American Department of Defense acquiring a multiplicity of systems without significant effort to reduce the number of systems or consolidate functions across services.

The Result a Surge in Innovation The U S Department of Defense spending on UAS has increased from $284 million in FY2000 to $3.3 billion in FY2010. The Department of Defense currently possesses five UAVs in large numbers: the Air Force’s Predator, Reaper, and Global Hawk; and the Army’s Hunter and Shadow. Other key UAV developmental efforts include the Air Force’s RQ-170 Sentinel; the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS), MQ-8 Fire Scout, and Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) UAV; and the Marine Corps’s Small Tactical Unmanned Aerial System. All these systems need reliable rugged actuators. In the past, tension existed between the services’ efforts to acquire UAS and congressional initiatives to encourage a consolidated DOD approach. Some observers argue that the result has been a less than stellar track record for UAS programs. However, reflecting the growing awareness and support in Congress and the Department of Defense for UAS, investments in unmanned aerial vehicles have been increasing every year.

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New Enhanced Role for UAS In the 21st century, unmanned systems are highly desired by combatant commanders for their versatility and persistence. By performing tasks such as surveillance, signals intelligence (SIGINT), precision target designation, mine detection, and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) reconnaissance, unmanned systems have made key contributions to the Global War on Terror. But the pace of innovation has thrown up challenges for the engineers. First, inter-platform communication: the House of Representatives version of the FY2006 Defense Authorization Act took a major step to encourage inter-platform communication. The members of the House Armed Services Committee included a clause that called for the requirement of all tactical unmanned aerial vehicles throughout the services to be equipped with the Tactical Common Data Link, which has become the services’ standardized communication tool for providing “critical wideband data link required for real-time situational awareness, as well as real time sensor and targeting data to tactical commanders.” This has helped ease communication issues, but at the same time has led to technical complexity. A further issue to emerge that handicaps commanders on the ground is bandwidth. The finite bandwidth that currently exists for all military aircraft, and the resulting competition for existing bandwidth, may render the expansion of UAS applications unfeasible and leave many platforms grounded. Ultimately, the requirement for bandwidth grows with every war the United States fights. The increased use of UAS in Iraq and Afghanistan indicates that remotely piloted platforms’ mass consumption of bandwidth will require a more robust information transfer system in the coming years.5

Handling the Reliability Safety Issue While the unique selling point of unmanned aerial systems has always been their relatively low cost compared to piloted aircraft and


SPECIAL REPORT: HIGH PERFORMANCE ACTUATOR TECHNOLOGY

VOLZ SERVOS Manufacturer of actuators since 1983 some statistics do demonstrate that mishaps with UAS are much higher than the mishap rates of many manned aircraft.

The Force Multiplication and Manning Issue

Volz Servos DA 22 SUB – water proof down to 100 m / 300 feet or 10 bar / 145 psi

their high levels of efficacy, their use has been marked by crashes and reliability issues, which have on occasion compromised their mission effectiveness. Altogether, the USAF reported that there have been 79 drone accidents costing at least $1 million each. Strident efforts to reduce this rate have been made. Each component of the UAS is now called on to demonstrate failsafe mechanisms and back up or redundancy. And although in 2004, the Defense Science Board indicated that relatively high UAV mishap rates might impede the widespread fielding of UAVs, the increased use of training has reduced the human error factor. While many UAV accidents have been attributed to human error, the recent investment in higher reliability upgrades appears to be showing results, although

The hope behind much innovative use of UAS has been the effective use of manpower so that one operator can control several UAS and their sensors or weapons. However, technology issues have held them back. One of the most attractive and innovative technological priorities for UAS is to enable one ground operator to pilot several UAVs at the same time. Currently most UAS require at least two ground operators; one to pilot the vehicle and another to control the sensors. The end goal for UAS manufactures and users is to reduce the 2:1 operator-vehicle ratio and eventually elevate the autonomy and interoperability of UAS to the point where two or more vehicles can be controlled by one operator. If this technological feat is achieved, the advantage of UAS as a force-multiplier on the battlefield could provide a dramatic change in combat capability. However, it is frequently the case that the reverse is true and that one UAV has a relatively large support team on the ground.

Power for UAS The last decade has seen a rapid development in fuel cell technologies. This has had an impact on modern actuators and other systems on UAS. Another technology under development is fuel cell-generated electric power. Supporters of fuel cells note that these devices could double the efficiency of mid-sized UAS and could reduce the aircrafts’ acoustic and thermal signatures, effectively making them more difficult to detect and target. Air Combat Command is sponsoring the project with the goal to use the fuel cells in many of its smaller UAS.

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Actuators and UAS in Action Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

The Israeli UAS industry has led the world in innovation in technological and electronic developments for UAS programmes.

F

or many years, the Israeli Air Force has led the world in developing UAS and new technologies. U.S. observers noticed Israel’s successful use of UAS during operations in Lebanon in 1982, encouraging then Navy Secretary John Lehman to acquire a UAS capability for the Navy. Interest also grew in other parts of the Pentagon, and the Reagan Administration’s FY1987 budget requested notably higher levels of UAS funding. This marked the transition of UAS in the United States from experimental projects to acquisition programs. The Israeli UAS industry has led the world in innovation in technological and electronic developments for UAS programmes.

The Critical Role of Certification In any field with vigorous technical development, strong global demand and a range of innovative uses for a relatively new product, there needs to be high levels of certification of electronic and mechanical components to ensure health and safety and military levels of reliability and ruggedness. Many manufacturers of actuators sell their products to prime contractors of UAS by emphasising the level of specification of their actuators and other products for UAS. Actuators for the civilian and military market can be made to wide levels of specification. There is ATEX, IECEx, SIL, INMETRO, KOSHA, CSA, UL, GOST, RTN, and P66 among many others. IECEx is an internationally used process to certify electrical equipment used in hazardous locations. The code defines a system to classify locations prone to explosive atmospheres caused by gases, dusts, or fibers for example. The main goal of the International Electrotechnical Commission IEC with the IECEx regulation is to reach global harmonization of codes governing use of electrical apparatus in hazardous locations. IEC promotes mutual

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acceptance of evaluations and reports among the testing labs and certifying bodies.6

Safety Integrity Level (SIL) Certification SIL considers functional safety to determine the potential risk for people, systems, devices and processes in case of a malfunction. The basis for the specification, design, and operation of safety instrumented systems is IEC standard 61508. The goal is to assess the risk and to reduce it by use of suitable measures. The standard knows four levels, SIL 1 to SIL 4, characterizing safety levels for electrical, electronic and programmable electronic devices, often referred to as E/E/PE. The SIL level is a measure for the safety function in case of a fault and answers the question: “What is the probability of the system still functioning correctly in case of a fault?”7

Meeting Global Demand for UAS Innovation Israeli manufacturers of innovative high technology, tested and certified systems in UAS are well established. For example, the Israeli company Bental Industries Ltd. is a design and manufacturing house of power and motion systems for land and air defense platforms. These include sophisticated servomotors, cutting-edge propulsion systems, servo actuators, alternators and starters, and the latest mini stabilized payload systems of surveillance application. They have also developed low weight propulsion systems for Bental’s propulsion motors. These underscore the everlasting struggle against the weight of products. Bental introduces MilStandard designed motors with remarkable power to weight ratio. Among the special attributes that Bental is providing with its electric propulsion solutions are: high reliability, high efficiency, clean components, ease of


SPECIAL REPORT: HIGH PERFORMANCE ACTUATOR TECHNOLOGY

VOLZ SERVOS Manufacturer of actuators since 1983

Volz Servos DA 14 – carbon fiber reinforced case, completely sealed (IP-67)

assembly, use and maintenance, low vibration and thermal signature, and long life. As the electric batteries continue to develop, Bental will be found in more and larger platforms. At the other extreme they produce very small propulsion motors for micro UAVs: the 56g B-013 Mini UAV Propulsion Motor, designed for micro UAVs has a permanent magnet, and a sensor-less motor for propelling micro airborne vehicles.8

Israeli-American Co-Production of High Technology Actuators and Parts for UAS and Missiles Kearfott produces actuators for UAS but also for missiles like the Tomahawk Cruise missile. Three of these actuator units are used in the Tomahawk Cruise Missile to control the fins. A brush-type DC motor drives casehardened stainless steel gearing. A ball screw provides further mechanical advantage at high efficiency. A precision potentiometer, geared directly from the output hub, provides a position feedback signal. The fin is attached directly to the output hub of the actuator. Units go through

environmental stress screening, consisting of temperature cycling, random vibration, and full stroke cycling. Performance requirements are extensive, including position accuracy, torque, speed, frequency, step response, and stiffness. Over 1500 actuators have been produced.9 They also manufacture a brushless resolver actuator: this fin actuation system is used to control the fins of the MK-82 Early Accurate Weapon. The actuation system receives commands from the autopilot to provide roll, pitch, and yaw control to the weapon airframe. The actuation system consists of four rotary actuators, a squib-activated battery, and a GPS antenna. Each rotary actuator has a brushless DC motor, electromagnetic brake, planetary gear reduction, ball screw, and precision potentiometer for position feedback.10

The Qinetiq Zephyr Experimental Solar Powered Lightweight UAV In the search for ever more sustainable and enduring reliable surveillance options, the British Defence company QinetiQ has been working on a new solar power UAV with Israeli actuators. As the BBC news reported in 2007, a lightweight solar-powered plane smashed the official world record for the longest-duration unmanned flight. UK defence firm QinetiQ, which built the Zephyr unmanned aerial vehicle, said it flew for 54 hours during tests. The researchers believe it is the first time a solar-powered craft has flown under its own power through two nights. The latest tests took place at the US military White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. “The aircraft was flown on solar power and charged its batteries during the day, discharged its batteries during the night, and remained aloft the following dawn when the cycle was repeated.” said Paul Davey, Zephyr’s business development director. During the flights, Zephyr reached a maximum altitude of more than 58,000ft (18,000m).

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SPECIAL REPORT: HIGH PERFORMANCE ACTUATOR TECHNOLOGY

UAS, Actuators and the Future Mary Dub, Editor

Better still for makers of actuators and other component parts of UAS is the rising demand for civilian use of UAS for counter terrorism and border defence by police forces and border agencies.

T

o attempt to predict the future always feels daring and risky, especially in a field of rapid high technology change with a platform type which is now used in a wide range of missions and is seen as a convenient substitute to piloted planes or ‘boots on the ground’. Nevertheless, the ubiquitous use of UAS systems throughout the West and the high demand from Asia and Latin America promises to establish a strong and effective place for UAS in military inventories. Better still for makers of actuators and other component parts of UAS is the rising demand for civilian use of UAS for counter terrorism and border defence by police forces and border agencies. Also industrial use of UAS will become more salient for tasks as different as monitoring pipelines to crop spraying. But there are still some technological hurdles to overcome.

Technical Challenges for the Future Some key technologies that will enable future UAS include: lightweight, long endurance battery and/or alternative power technology, effective bandwidth management/data compression tools, stealth capability and collaborative or teaming technologies that will allow UAS to operate in concert with each other and with manned aircraft. A critical enabler allowing UAS access to U.S. National and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) airspace will be a robust on-board sense and avoid technology. The ability of UAS to operate in airspace shared with civil manned aircraft will be critical for future peacetime training and operations. There is also a need for open architecture systems that will allow competition among many different commercial UAS and ground control systems allowing the US Pentagon to “mix and match” the best of all possible systems on the market. Technology enablers in propulsion systems coupled with greater energy efficiency of payloads are required to extend loiter time and expand the missions of UAS to include Electronic Attack and directed energy.11

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UAS Use for Homeland Defense While UAS use in foreign theaters is well established, one of the most commonly discussed new mission areas for UAS is homeland defense and homeland security. The Coast Guard and U.S. Border Patrol already employ UAS such as the Eagle Eye and Predator to watch coastal waters, patrol the nation’s borders, and protect major oil and gas pipelines. It appears that interest is growing in using UAS for a variety of domestic, and often non-defense roles. Longduration law enforcement surveillance, a task performed by manned aircraft during the October 2002 sniper incident near Washington, DC, is one example. The U.S. Department of Transportation has studied possible security roles for UAS, such as following trucks with hazardous cargo, while the Energy Department has been developing high-altitude instruments to measure radiation in the atmosphere. UAS might also be used in sparsely populated areas of the western United States to search for forest fires. Following the widespread destruction by Hurricane Katrina, some suggest that a UAS like Global Hawk could play roles in “consequence management” and relief efforts. Also, UAS advocates note that countries like South Korea and Japan have used UAS for decades for crop dusting and other agricultural purposes.

FAA Hurdles to Overcome for Use of UAS in Civilian Airspace The hurdles to overcome in the future for widespread civilian use of UAS over United States territory are not just technical. There are also FAA regulations to be met. UAS advocates state that in order for UAS to take an active role in homeland security, law enforcement, aerial surveying, crop dusting, and other proposed civilian uses, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and UAS flight requirements must approach a common ground. According to FAA spokesman William Shumann, the primary challenge in finding this common ground is “to develop vehicles that meet FAA safety requirements if they want to fly in crowded


SPECIAL REPORT: HIGH PERFORMANCE ACTUATOR TECHNOLOGY

VOLZ SERVOS Manufacturer of actuators since 1983

Upgrading UAS collision avoidance capabilities, often referred to as “sense and avoid” technology, appears to be a critical part in the next step of reaching the UAS-airspace. airspace.” The announcement in August 2003 that the FAA had granted the USAF a certificate of authorization for national airspace operation signified the first steps in the reconciliation of these discrepancies. Upgrading UAS collision avoidance capabilities, often referred to as “sense and avoid” technology, appears to be a critical part in the next step of reaching the UAS-airspace.

The Challenge from Blimps Heavier-than-air UAS may not always be the preferred platforms for these new surveillance roles and applications. Other options could include manned aircraft, blimps, and space satellites. Each platform offers both advantages and disadvantages. Manned aircraft provide a flexible platform, but risk a pilot’s life. Some of the country’s largest defense contractors are competing to develop unmanned blimps

that may be capable of floating months at a time at an altitude of 70,000 feet and carrying 4,000 pounds of payload. The US OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) UAS Roadmap includes a section on lighter-than-air blimps and tethered “aerostat” platforms, which OSD indicates to be important for a variety of roles, including psychological operations, spotting incoming enemy missiles and border monitoring. Furthermore, these platforms could provide services equivalent to many border surveillance UAS, and their decreased dependency on fuel could reduce operations costs. One drawback to these lighter-than-air platforms is their lack of manoeuvrability and speed relative to UAVs like the Global Hawk. Their long persistence once on station may be somewhat offset by the time required for them to relocate in response to new taskings. Nonetheless, some major UAS manufacturers are preparing, and in some cases, testing, lighter-than-air systems that could carry out a variety of missions for homeland security.

UAS and Actuators in an Age of Austerity and Defense Cuts The sustained surge in demand for a range of UAS means that there will be a parallel increase in demand for their components such as actuators. While Western Europe and North America may be in recession, this is not true of Asian economies and South America. There is a good likelihood of a strong and rising demand for these platforms and their electronic components well into the next decade. “Over the next few years, we will definitely see an aggressive growth of unmanned systems being used by U.S. forces around the world,” said Commander Robert Moss, a regional director at the United States Office of Naval Research Global. “There is a wide range of uses for unmanned systems, from surveillance work, gathering atmospheric data to direct combat strikes,” he told AFP. This burgeoning demand has spurred Asian manufacturers to enter the market, which has long been dominated by Israeli and U.S. companies.12

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References: 1

 K Congressional Research Service U.S. Unmanned Aerial Systems Jeremiah Gertler: Specialist in Military Aviation January 3, 2012

2

Compound Annual Growth Rate

3

Strategic Directions International, Inc. The Global UAV Payload Market 2012-2022 http://www.strategic-directions.com/_a/

4

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120226/DEFREG03/302260001/Drone-Makers-Cashing-War-Tactics-Evolve Feb. 26, 2012 - 01:06PM By BHAVAN JAIPRAGAS, Agence France-Presse

5

Congressional Research Service U.S. Unmanned Aerial Systems Jeremiah Gertler: Specialist in Military Aviation January 3, 2012

6

http://www.schischek.co.uk/explosion-proof/hazard-ex-certification-info.html

7

http://www.schischek.co.uk/explosion-proof/hazard-ex-certification-info.html

8

http://www.bental.co.il/download/files/AIR.pdf Bental Industries Ltd.

9

http://www.kearfott.com/images/stories/pdf/Datasheets_KGN_NC/cu09660020.pdf Kearfott

10

http://www.kearfott.com/images/stories/pdf/Datasheets_KGN_NC/cu09660020.pdf Kearfott

11

Congressional Research Service U.S. Unmanned Aerial Systems Jeremiah Gertler: Specialist in Military Aviation January 3, 2012

12

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120226/DEFREG03/302260001/Drone-Makers-Cashing-War-Tactics-Evolve Feb. 26, 2012 - 01:06PM By BHAVAN JAIPRAGAS, Agence France-Presse

14 | www.defenceindustryreports.com


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