Page 1

Special Report

Next Generation Alternative Energy UAV Technology

Next Generation Alternative Energy UAV Technology UAS Research Trends Upward The Future for Robotics is Now The Impact of New Research in UAS in Action The Beginning of a New Era for UAVs

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media


SPECIAL REPORT

Next Generation Alternative Energy UAV Technology

Next Generation Alternative Energy UAV Technology

SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ALTERNATIVE ENERGY UAV TECHNOLOGY

Contents

UAS Research Trends Upward The Future for Robotics is Now The Impact of New Research in UAS in Action The Beginning of a New Era for UAVs

Foreword

2

Mary Dub, Editor

Next Generation Alternative Energy UAV Technology

3

David J Wills, CEO – IAT21

Three Times as Many Travellers Advance of the UAV

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

The Need to Reconcile Environmental Demands with the Increase in Travellers A Possible Solution? Increasing Efficiency and Saving Energy A Multitude of Applications Project D-DALUS – Technology of the Future – Now!

UAS Research Trends Upward

6

Mary Dub, Editor

The Consequences of Rising Global Demand for UAVs The Changing Threat New UAS Systems Will Have to Meet

Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks

The Changing Technology Threat Perception from DARPA

Editor Mary Dub

The Future for Robotics is Now

Senior Project Manager Steve Banks Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes Production Manager Paul Davies

8

Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

Areas for Development of UAVs Capability Wish List UAVs and Chemical and Biological Weapon Detection

The Impact of New Research in UAS in Action

For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org

Mary Dub, Editor

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.

DARPA Development of the Sea Launched Drone

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.

10

UAVs in action in Swarm-Like Networks DARPA Specifications for New UAVS Energy Demands for UAVs

The Beginning of a New Era for UAVs

12

Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

A Truly Micro UAV European Energy Technology Ingenuity Providing a Solution to Stated DARPA Specifications The Future of UAVs

References 14

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


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ALTERNATIVE ENERGY UAV TECHNOLOGY

Foreword S

ome areas of technology are going through

and tablets now lead the military in providing new

such a vigorous period of development

technologies for drones which are now present in the

in progress and capability that the product

armouries of countries throughout South America,

inhabits the border between new engineering

Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

and science fiction. UAV technology is one such

Commanders using the full spectrum of these

area and the developments in the field are both

products from nano systems of a few grams to huge

disruptive and revolutionary.

weaponised Predators are aware of the limitations

This Special Report opens with an article that

of these new products. In setting the specifications

looks at advances in UAV technology and quotes

for research, DARPA and commercial agencies list

the European Transport 2050 Report which predicts

the weaknesses and new capabilities they would like

that, in 2050, there will be almost 3 times as many

addressed. This is the subject of the third article.

travellers in the air than in 2011. To keep pace with

The products of the latest research in nano-

this expansion, a transport solution must be found

technology are now seen in action in Afghanistan

that provides low cost vertical launch platforms using

despite the imminent drawdown next year. They

green power sources and offering high speed safe

provide admirable capabilities for reconnaissance

travel. The answer could be autonomous vehicles

for dismounted soldiers on patrol in an uncertain and

(UAVs), by extending their current roles from sensor

potentially hostile environment.

or defence platforms, to carrying passengers. IAT21,

Despite budgets cuts, sequestration intensive

an Austrian research company, has developed a

research into this rapidly evolving new robotic

technology – the D-DALUS craft propulsion system,

capability is surging ahead. There are revolutionary

which allows craft with winged chassis to fly forward

newly patented disruptive technologies coming onto

at almost twice the speed of conventional helicopters,

the market. New technologies should not be ignored,

with far greater efficiency. This is just one of the

even if they appear unaffordable, for fear that they will

wide range of potential applications for this ground-

be used against you by an enemy who has seen their

breaking technology.

potential. It would be a mistake to ignore the lessons

The second piece updates the reader on the

of history and neglect new ideas.

speed with which unmanned aerial vehicles or drones have transformed classic thinking about air dominance and how it can be achieved. What’s more, the rapid speed and penetration of new developments in popular commercial computing like smart phones

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.

2 | www.defenceindustryreports.com


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ALTERNATIVE ENERGY UAV TECHNOLOGY

Next Generation Alternative Energy UAV Technology David J Wills, CEO – IAT21

H

istorians will view our current era as the moment when mankind entered cyber-space, removing a large proportion of the commerce, entertainment, sport and social interaction that had hitherto been exclusively conducted in the real world. For some, this venture may herald the end of man‘s conflict with the environment – the soldier will battle with avatars, the graffiti artist will decorate virtual walls, and the tourist will enter virtual resorts without a trace of a carbon footprint . However, despite man’s increasing presence in this ‘other world’, there is little evidence that the pace and density of activity in the real world is diminishing – on the contrary, it is intensifying.

Three Times as Many Travellers The European Transport 2050 report predicts that in 2050 there will be almost 3 times as many travellers in the air than in 2011. If so, with our reliance on wide bodied fixed wing super liners, will there be 3 times as many airports with 3 times the amount of cars delivering and collecting passengers? And 3 times the amount of carbon emissions? Will taxpayers be able to afford, for example, 3 new Berlin Airports and 3 times the road transport infrastructure costs? If fixed-wing aircraft cannot solve this problem, neither can helicopters. Already at the limit of the ‘Change Curve’, the helicopter is truly Baroque. A tiny percentage increase in range, payload, top speed or altitude can almost double the cost of an airframe. Although they offer the attraction of VTOL, their safety record is poor, their speed and range are primitive and their maintenance costs are legendary. If mankind is not about to become a fancy series of algorithms defined in cyberspace, then a transport solution must rapidly be sought to provide low cost vertical launch platforms, using green power sources, and offering high speed safe travel.

Advance of the UAV Simultaneously, our airspace is on the brink of invasion. Autonomous vehicles, currently exclusive to military operations or confined

by size and weight to conform to sport aircraft classification, are soon to be permitted in ‘hybrid airspace’ – UAVs flying together with piloted vehicles. These UAVs will form swarms, each swarm sharing a route between designated way points where they re-form to allow each UAV to select the next swarm with flight vectors most closely fitting their desired journey. Air traffic controllers will define the way points and set the swarm vectors (altitude, direction and speed). Individual UAVs will sense their proximity to a forming swarm and recognise the pattern to which they must contribute. These UAVs will break out from the constraints of their current roles as sensor or weapons platforms, and become the tools that allow mankind to fully enter, control and inhabit the third dimension of this planet. The defining line between passenger aircraft and UAV will fade and ‘hybrid airspace’ will give way to total autonomy. These disruptive changes will be driven by four inevitable factors: demographics, economics, safety and the environment. Population expansion, constrained by the exponential rise in infrastructure costs, will force mankind to recognise that, by rising from the ground, life can be lived more economically, more safely and with least harm to the environment. We think nothing of driving our car at 120kph towards an oncoming lorry travelling at a similar speed and passing each other with little more than the separation of the wing mirrors. A collision is prevented by the mutual action of two drivers, each trusting firmly that the other has sufficient skill and experience to judge the separation and is not distracted by alcohol, a mobile phone, exhaustion or their passenger. In the air, currently safety is achieved by separating aircraft with similar vectors; the further apart the controller sets their course the safer they become. But the density of future air travel will demand either massive crafts carrying a thousand or more passengers, or tighter density traffic control. UAVs however will derive greatest safety when they swarm (closely pack) and can recognise the pattern to which they belong. These aircraft will therefore allow far greater air traffic densities. But www.defenceindustryreports.com | 3


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ALTERNATIVE ENERGY UAV TECHNOLOGY

The addition of a winged chassis allows the craft, once airborne, to fly forward at almost twice the speed of conventional helicopters and with far greater efficiency

Fig.1. The D-DALUS UAV showing the 4 cyclogyro rotor assemblies

fixed wing aircraft cannot swarm with sufficient stability, changing their speed and attitude in an impulse in order to reform patterns on the arrival or departure of a member of the swarm. And conventional rotorcraft (helicopters) are similarly constrained by their slow impulse response and additionally cannot fly close without the danger of rotor strike. Neither fixed wing nor helicopters can be easily rescued from catastrophic engine failure by deploying parachutes. Future UAVs must therefore escape the constraints of fixed wing and conventional rotorcraft.

The Need to Reconcile Environmental Demands with the Increase in Travellers Current air traffic is blamed for a very large proportion of the global carbon damage. It seems impossible to reconcile environmental demands to reduce the current levels of pollution yet, at the same time, allow for a dramatic increase in the number of air travellers …..unless an air vehicle can be found that uses green energy such as algae sourced fuels or electricity sourced from natural power (wind, solar or hydro). Current attempts at solar powered craft hit the headlines but do not appear to offer economic large payload high speed travel.

A Possible Solution? So when we consider the future, it is simple to forecast the demographic, environmental, safety and economic demands that we will face, far less easy to define the essentially new and disruptive technology that will meet these demands. But IAT21, an Austrian research company based near Linz, may have discovered the solution. World-wide excitement has been generated over their cyclogyro project – Project D-DALUS – a rotorcraft that, weighing around 20kg left the 4 | www.defenceindustryreports.com

ground for the first time in 2006 and in 2012, as a larger model weighing approximately 200kg, in front of film crews from The Discovery Channel and Servus TV. The D-DALUS craft propulsion system uses two pairs of contra-rotating rotors, similar in design to the paddles of a paddle-steamer or water-mill except that the angle of the blades can be altered to change the direction of thrust. Each of the four rotor assemblies can be given different commands so that, for example, the two on the port side can thrust down and the two starboard rotor assemblies can thrust upwards, causing the craft to flip. Or, imagining the craft in compass terms, the North-East assembly could thrust East and the South West assembly thrust West and the craft would rotate like a Catherinewheel. Or all four could thrust down and the craft would take off vertically. For a craft capable of 100kg payloads the rotor assemblies run at over 2,000 rpm generating forces of 1,000 g at the circumference but, thanks to the IAT21 patented ultra-low friction bearing, the pitch of the blades can be altered in a microsecond, allowing the UAV extraordinary manoeuvrability. So the project offers the prospect of a craft that can swarm and rapidly match its attitude to fit changing swarm patterns; it can take off vertically (therefore not requiring a runway) and has no extended moving parts that can foul against objects such as adjacent aircraft , trees, walls or power lines. The addition of a winged chassis allows the craft, once airborne, to fly forward at almost twice the speed of conventional helicopters and with far greater efficiency.

Increasing Efficiency and Saving Energy But does Project D-DALUS solve the environmentalist’s concerns? IAT21 have been


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ALTERNATIVE ENERGY UAV TECHNOLOGY

Fig.2. D-DALUS is designed to be able to fly higher, faster and for longer than helicopters but will also be capable of operations inside buildings

working on an electrically powered UAV and have successfully demonstrated the feasibility that such an aircraft could soon be a commercial reality. Their ultra-low friction bearing and on-board regenerative energy storage reduce energy consumption. In addition, in a consortium with other European partners in Portugal, Germany, Italy and the UK, IAT21 are examining other revolutionary ways to increase the efficiency of electrically powered craft; for example, by an electrically generated plasma boundary layer that influences the air flow across the rotor blades using a Plasma Enhanced Cycloidal Thruster PECyT.

Fig.3 IAT21’s concept for a future D-DALUS passenger aircraft

A Multitude of Applications Through the D-DALUS technology, IAT21 is developing a next generation alternative energy UAV but clearly the inventors recognise that UAV and passenger aircraft innovation will soon merge and that this technology has the potential, eventually, to allow mankind to leave the ground and live and work in air-space as naturally as we have hitherto lived on the ground. Local autonomous air taxis will fly direct door-to-door, freed from seeking urban rat-runs. Swarms will shuttle to and from massive intercontinental mother-ships that rarely land. New motor sports will harness the speed and manoeuvring ability of this ‘aerial quad-bike’. CCTV that currently provides sparse but invaluable ground level safety coverage can now be comprehensive, allowing security coverage for vulnerable populations (such as refugees or late night pedestrians), monitoring of contamination (such as chemical or radioactive waste), crowd control (identification of violent elements at

football matches etc), homeland security (for example, recognising unattended packages) and recognising hazards such as the signs of forest fires, an avalanche about to start or rocks on high speed rail tracks. Imagine window shopping up the outside of a 50 storey apartment store, or saving fuel by travelling in the slipstream of a high speed train.

Project D-DALUS – Technology of the Future – Now! Next Generation UAVs must use alternative energy sources and they must be green. They will pervade almost every aspect of our lives, providing us with greater security, faster and more economic communications, and they will eventually free us from the attrition and stress of ground infrastructure. These UAVs await a disruptive technology that escapes the constraints of fixed wing and rotor craft. That technology may have arrived in the form of Project D-DALUS.

www.defenceindustryreports.com | 5


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ALTERNATIVE ENERGY UAV TECHNOLOGY

UAS Research Trends Upward Mary Dub, Editor

“As UAVs prove their indisputable worth saving lives every day in current operations, they are also challenging traditional air power concepts and stimulating necessary debate on how air power might best be delivered in the future.” Air Vice-Marshal Jon Lamonte, Chief of Staff Strategy, Policy & Plans UK (2012)

The United States GAO notes that the number of countries that have acquired a UAV has increased from approximately 41 in 2004 to at least 76 countries in 2012

I

n the past decade UAVs have progressed from minor players in Intelligence and Situational Awareness, or ISA role to a key part of the allied air campaigns over Iraq and Afghanistan, with single platforms now capable of achieving the entire Find, Fix, Track, Target, Engage and Assess kill chain. Their development from providing a surveillance capability to a system providing armed ISA, follows a similar path to the evolution of manned aviation over the trenches of World War 1, where aircraft operating over enemy lines providing artillery observation soon began carrying rudimentary bombs to attack positions directly. Early indications are that the parallels between the development of manned and unmanned aircraft will not end there; that the capabilities of UAVs will continue to develop and increasingly play a part in all air power roles.1 This apposite summary of the central place UAVs have won for themselves in today’s NATO or ISAF battlefield by a distinguished commander is replicated in defence armouries throughout the world. In a report this year for the British House of Commons, it is clear that this upward trend in the use of UAS systems is global. The United States GAO2 notes that the number of countries that have acquired a UAV has increased from approximately 41 in 2004 to at least 76 countries in 2012. It suggests that over 50 countries are developing more than 900 different UAV systems. The British MOD assesses that there are approximately 80 states whose armed forces have an unmanned air vehicle capability. Of these, less than a dozen operate systems that can be armed with missiles or other munitions. The majority are considered tactical UAVs, which are primarily used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and have a limited operational range.3 The US GAO study observes that, while only a limited number of countries have fielded lethal or weaponised UAVs “the threat is anticipated to grow”.

6 | www.defenceindustryreports.com

The Consequences of Rising Global Demand for UAVs The consequences of the widespread use and interest in the whole spectrum of UAS systems from the micro/nano UAS to the larger weaponised drones has been a vigorous growth in the research and development 4 of UAS systems. This new research addresses their weaknesses and transfers from the commercial sector new technologies, which lower the weight of systems and improve guidance engineering and algorithms. DARPA, under the leadership of their new director, Arati Prabhakar, explained the priority being given to the development of UAS systems in 2013 in her annual statement. She sees the mission of DARPA to continue the fight against tactical technological surprise that gives advantage in the battlefield. Historically, DARPA was founded to confront the need for technological surprise created by the launch of Sputnik in 1958. Since that time, DARPA has been at the leading edge of funding and developing often highly classified technologies that may give the United States critical leverage on the battlefield.

The Changing Threat New UAS Systems Will Have to Meet In her presentation, Arati Prabhakar outlines her agency’s current threat perception that needs to be met by technological development. The relevance of this is that many of these disparate threats are ones that can be met by new developments in UAS and robotics. ‘The first major factor is, we believe we’re going to be in an extended period during which our national security will face a wide range of different types of threats from a wide range of different actors-nation-states are in the mix, but so too are terrorist organizations and criminal organizations and even individuals. And each of these -- all of these different kinds of actors have the conventional means of waging war, or inflicting damage; but now they also have some new tools. Cyber is


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ALTERNATIVE ENERGY UAV TECHNOLOGY

IAT21’s vision for a future autonomous passenger craft as the ultimate goal of their current UAV programme

a very obvious example. Many of these actors also have increasing access to weapons of mass destructions, or weapons of mass terror. So the number one major factor that we really pay attention to is this complex, fluid, shifting national security environment that we think we will be facing for an extended period of time.’5

The Changing Technology Threat Perception from DARPA Secondly, she addresses the changing nature of the technology market and the vigorous role the commercial market plays in distributing computer technologies that were once the privileged preserve of the military. ‘The world has changed in some important ways, and already today our military systems are critically reliant on technologies that in some cases are available to everybody around the world, in some cases are actually not even made anymore in the United States. That’s a trend that we expect will continue and in particular we think that other nations will continue to grow their capabilities in terms of technology and new research and development. I think that’s going to be a fact of life in the world that we’re living in.’6 Finally, she notes a paradigm shift that is more fundamental than the current issue of sequestration. In DARPA’s view, the United States may be at the beginning of a fundamental shift in how society allocates resources to the business of national security.7

The world has changed in some important ways, and already today our military systems are critically reliant on technologies that in some cases are available to everybody around the world

www.defenceindustryreports.com | 7


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ALTERNATIVE ENERGY UAV TECHNOLOGY

The Future for Robotics is Now Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

“So out of those conversations came the notion of taking a look at air dominance and asking the question about how we could create this generational shift and how we could extend our air superiority capability.” Arati Prabhakar, Director DARPA (April 24, 2013)

Many would like an autonomous vehicle that can fly in any weather through smoke and radiation, hover very close to cliff faces or IAT21’s Desert Rat UAV is planned to provide support for UNHCR and NGO Operations

buildings and even enter them to recover casualties or collect or deliver materials in hazardous situations

I

t is this new research into extending and establishing air superiority capability using manned and unmanned systems that is at the heart of the current DARPA program - one of the best funded research and development programs in the world, despite the current fiscal constraints. What are the areas that DARPA and other governments working on UAS development like the UK, Israel and other European and African countries see as important weaknesses of current UAS? The House of Commons Library briefing document on drones gives a list of current perceived limitations in capabilities seen by the British Ministry of Defence, and the list is a long one. They identify a lack of small, tailored weapons and of long air carriage life weapons. They see current UAS systems communications links with the ground as vulnerable to cyber and communications link attack. Commanders are troubled by the lack of ruggedness and airworthiness of many UAS models, as many of the technologies remain immature. The military have other specific requirements: many would

8 | www.defenceindustryreports.com

like an autonomous vehicle that can fly in any weather through smoke and radiation, hover very close to cliff faces or buildings and even enter them to recover casualties or collect or deliver materials in hazardous situations.

Areas for Development of UAVs Air Vice-Marshal Jon Lamonte, in his lecture to the Royal United Services Institute in London, outlined further weaknesses in UAVs that he thought needed development. In his view air power strengths are speed, reach, height, ubiquity, agility and concentration. These are attributes that can be exploited by UAVs in a similar way to manned aircraft. Equally important, however, are the current weaknesses of air power. These are impermanence because aircraft cannot stay airborne indefinitely; limited payload when compared with a ship or land vehicle; fragility of structure making them susceptible to battle damage; cost in procuring and sustaining aircraft capabilities and reliance on cutting edge technology in order to defeat the equally technologically advanced counter air


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ALTERNATIVE ENERGY UAV TECHNOLOGY

capabilities of opponents. And finally he notes how area basing is required to operate from within a practical range of the theatre of operations.8 He goes on to develop the important issue of payload. In Lamonte’s opinion, the current weakness of UAVs is that they have a lower carrying capacity than their endurance capability. Payload limitations are generally described in terms of weight, size and number of expendables, such as weapons, that can be carried. Once the payload has been accommodated on board, non-kinetic capabilities such as collection and distribution of digital imagery, signals intelligence and communications relay are only limited by the system’s capability and platform performance. It is the weapon carriage limitation that has the greatest impact on UAVs performing in the attack role as they can expend all their weapons long before they are required to come off task. With the development of directed energy weaponry becoming an ever more likely reality, however, the combination of a weapon with an ‘inexhaustible magazine’ coupled with the persistence of UAVs that are survivable in a contested battle space, is expected to transform war fighting by around 2030. Thereafter, UAVs are likely to begin to predominate in the force mix and the traditional air power roles of Intelligence and Situational Awareness and Attack will merge as the same system becomes capable of delivering both roles simultaneously.9

Capability Wish List While the prospect of a UAV armed with an inexhaustible magazine of directed energy weapons is still some way off, there are more immediately achievable aims in his wish list of capabilities for future UAVs. In Lamonte’s view, the fragility of UAVs is a problem relative to manned aircraft. However, he is confident that this can be accommodated: industry will aim to mitigate these weakness, not only through

improved performance in terms of height, speed and manoeuvrability, but also by increasing levels of automation, equipping platforms with defensive aids, protecting up and down links, and incorporating low observable technology and characteristics that are not compromised by the platform design limitations imposed by the life support and needs of carrying a human being.

UAVs and Chemical and Biological Weapon Detection Above and beyond the role UAVs currently have to carry sensors and deliver real time information to the ground as images, is the role that they may in the future be able to play in accomplishing what are called “dirty” missions. Here they have a unique advantage over manned systems in that the life of a pilot is not risked in acquiring data. In addition to the basic ISR role, micro and small low cost UAVs could be used extensively as airborne NBC10 detectors accomplishing the “dirty” missions for U.S. military and homeland defense forces. Recent advances in miniaturization and nanotechnology have significantly reduced the size of NBC detectors. For example, “Argonne [under US Department of Defence contract] has developed a miniature ‘microelectronic nose’ that detects chemical poisons such as cyanogen chloride and hydrogen cyanide gases at nonlethal concentrations. It is being trained to detect VX, sarin, and mustard gases as well. The prototype instrument fits in the palm of a hand.” Laboratories-on-a-chip are just the latest inventions that will soon find their way into micro and small UAVs for use in military applications. Integrated within a MAV11, such as the Army’s Black Widow, these sensors will provide soldiers or air base defenders with a fast and economical means of identifying hazards. “MAVs will be able to map the size and shape of hazardous clouds and provide real time tracking of their location.”12 www.defenceindustryreports.com | 9


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ALTERNATIVE ENERGY UAV TECHNOLOGY

The Impact of New Research in UAS in Action Mary Dub, Editor

“The coming partnership of man and robot will characterize the American military” Col Dave Crow Air Combat Command Chief, Readiness Division Langley AFB, VA (10 May 2012)

While up to now most UAVs have been used individually, new technologies and thinking have initiated the idea of a swarm of UAVs to enhance effectiveness

U

AVs of all sizes and descriptions are currently being used in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The revolution that is taking place on miniaturisation and ruggedness is already in play. The British Ministry of Defence report in Spring 2013 states that frontline troops are being protected by a Black Hornet nano UAV. The Black Hornet nano UAV measures around 4 inches by 1 inch (10cm x 2.5cm) and provides troops on the ground with situational awareness.13 The Black Hornet is equipped with a tiny camera, which gives troops reliable full-motion video and still images. Soldiers are using it to peer around corners or over walls and other obstacles to identify any hidden dangers and the images are displayed on a handheld terminal. The Black Hornet weighs as little as 16 grams and has been developed by Prox Dynamics AS of Norway as part of a £20 million contract for 160 units with Marlborough Communications Ltd in Surrey. Sergeant Christopher Petherbridge of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force in Afghanistan said: “Black Hornet is definitely adding value, especially considering the lightweight nature of it. We use it to look for insurgent firing points and check out exposed areas of the ground before crossing, which is a real asset. It is very easy to operate and offers amazing capability to the guys on the ground.” Its real value is that it is light and portable for dismounted soldiers on patrol.

UAVs in action in Swarm-Like Networks While up to now most UAVs have been used individually, new technologies and thinking have initiated the idea of a swarm of UAVs to enhance effectiveness. How would this work? The U. S. Navy’s Smart Warfighting Array of Reconfigurable Modules (SWARM) operates as a group, functioning together as a ‘swarm’

10 | www.defenceindustryreports.com

of aircraft. This operational model requires the vehicles to function as individual units while being a part of a larger functioning organization operating to achieve a common mission goal. The UAVs communicate relevant information and can reconfigure themselves, autonomously changing direction in response to sensor input to achieve the mission at hand. For example, if you have 100 aircraft collecting sensor input over a field of operation and five of them have engine failure or are shot out of the sky, the rest can reconfigure themselves to collect the required data and complete the mission.14

DARPA Development of the Sea Launched Drone A key limitation of UAV use in conflict has been the need for transport to forward basing. The next generation of UAVs will be able to launch at sea and return home to their launch vessels. The new Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node program, or Tern, “envisions using smaller ships as mobile launch and recovery sites for medium-altitude long-endurance fixed-wing unmanned aircraft,” DARPA announced. The program works for unarmed spy drones on reconnaissance as well as those armed for “strike” missions. Tern complements one of the Navy’s main robotic development developments. The Navy would like a drone, equipped with missiles and advanced spy equipment, to take off and land from a full-sized aircraft carrier, one of the hardest maneuvers in aviation. It’s currently experimenting with a 62.1-foot span, batwingshaped prototype, called the X-47B, which the Navy expects to launch off a carrier deck at sea for the first time by May 2013.15

DARPA Specifications for New UAVS Of course, much of DARPA’s work is classified, but insight into what their program teams are


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ALTERNATIVE ENERGY UAV TECHNOLOGY

working on can be gleaned from the detailed constraints and specifications attached to many of the requests for tenders or expressions of interest from researchers. For dismounted soldiers on patrol, it is always necessary to ensure that equipment that needs to be carried is light and that it delivers the promised benefit. DARPA asks researchers or proponents of new technologies to ensure all hardware, power and processing capabilities are integrated into equipment that squad members and the squad’s complement of ground and air unmanned systems can carry. That means that they minimize system size, weight and power (SWaP), and inherently enable real-time action by squads. “Imagine a squad moving through a complex urban environment that has heavy threat activity,” said Army Lt. Col. Joseph Hitt, DARPA program manager. “We’re looking to leverage emerging technologies, integrate and optimize them through rigorous experimentation, and deliver the decisive technological advantage dismounted squads deserve,” Hitt said. “We’re reaching out to the performer community to see what gamechanging technologies they could contribute.”16

For dismounted soldiers on patrol, it is always necessary to ensure that equipment that needs to be carried is light and that it delivers the promised benefit

Energy Demands for UAVs Undoubtedly, one of the most challenging areas for new technology development for UAVs is energy resource sustainability. The ideal solution would be a long endurance, non-carbon emitting, renewable energy power source. There are numerous different options – photo voltaic cells, lithium polymer (Li-Po) batteries, hybrid solutions or hydrogen fuel cell sources. Many of these solutions have critical weaknesses in terms of ruggedness, when subject to extreme weather conditions, and endurance. Many UAV manufacturers vigorously seek an ingenious solution to this problem.

www.defenceindustryreports.com | 11


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ALTERNATIVE ENERGY UAV TECHNOLOGY

The Beginning of a New Era for UAVs Don McBarnet, Staff Writer

“Experiment now! Not after we need it” Col Dave Crow, Air Combat Command Chief, Readiness Division Langley AFB, VA (2012)

Austrian firm Innovative Aerodynamic Technologies (IAT21) describes its free-floating drone Project D-Dalus as, “a totally new form of airborne auto-motion”, as it hovers and flies without wings or rotors

The D-DALUS cyclogyro UAV

W

hat does the future look like for new technologies for unmanned aerial vehicles? The demand for change from critical drivers like affordability is apparent. What does this mean in practice? Many manufacturers are working on highly classified new technologies to meet the perceived weaknesses of their current product range. Israel, which have been at the forefront of product and technology development for UAS, has been quick off the mark. Their tiny butterfly-like unmanned micro vehicle is a case in point. When the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) “butterfly” unmanned air vehicle, or rather super micro vehicle, takes off in one of the company’s hangars, it looks like a toy. The “butterfly” is practically silent and, when it hovers a few metres above your head, it sometimes merges with the background and seems to disappear. This is exactly what IAI wants to achieve – a miniature UAV that can enter

12 | www.defenceindustryreports.com

buildings and relay video and sound to forces outside. The idea came from an engineer’s study of butterfly wings.

A Truly Micro UAV The small butterfly weighs 8g (0.3oz), and the “bigger” one 13g, both powered by a lithium polymer battery weighing 2g with an endurance of 20min. The tiny battery powers an electric motor with 7,000rpm that, in the small version, supplies 17Hz, and 40Hz in the bigger one. The video camera on both models weighs 0.1g and supports a ciphered video link. Because of its small size it has a very practical purpose in 21st century warfare. The IAI team say the project is mainly aimed at urban warfare, pointing the butterflies in the direction of helping soldiers get real-time intelligence in situations that are currently “dead ends”. Let us imagine a scenario: terrorists take over a building and hold hostages in an upper floor. There is no way to see or hear


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ALTERNATIVE ENERGY UAV TECHNOLOGY

what is going on inside the building. A “butterfly” takes off, enters the building via a window or air vent and begins to relay footage to troops outside via a camera and microphone.

European Energy Technology Ingenuity Israel does not hold a monopoly for ingenuity in designing new UAVs. Austrian firm Innovative Aerodynamic Technologies (IAT21) describes its free-floating drone Project D-Dalus as, “a totally new form of airborne auto-motion”, as it hovers and flies without wings or rotors.17 Taking their inspiration from balloons, birds and balls, the D-Dalus can launch and land vertically, hover perfectly still and zip about in any direction with 360 degrees of movement. A series of computer algorithms work to keep the aircraft upright, while a pilot guides the device using a traditional joystick. Reinforced by research from Cranfield University in the United Kingdom and flight tests and design from Austria, it puts new research into the market place. The prototype was launched at the Paris Air Show in 2011 and was picked up by Fox News. They were particularly interested in the technology which the D-Dalus vehicle uses – four contra-rotating turbines for propulsion, each reaching 2,200rpm. Each turbine blade has a variable angle of attack, which according to the designer allows the main thrust to be fired in any direction, around any axis. This allows the craft to launch vertically, hover, rotate in any direction and even thrust upwards, holding itself down.18 The manufacturers describe the craft as having several patented inventions, including “a frictionfree bearing at the points of high G force, and a system that keeps propulsion in dynamic equilibrium, thereby allowing the guidance system to quickly restore stability in flight.” The craft is

said to be easily scalable and can be made larger with more practical capabilities.

Providing a Solution to Stated DARPA Specifications D-Dalus, the brand name of the product meets many of the specifications that the US Army and DARPA have indicated should be met. For example, because of its revolutionary air foil like shape, it can land on bucking platforms like small boats at sea and because it does not use rotor blades, like a helicopter, it is considerably quieter and more fuel efficient. It also offers unmatched manoeuvrability and an ability to make contact with vertical obstacles without damaging its rotor-blades.

The Future of UAVs The value of UAVs is that they offer a cost sensitive solution to many of the problems of 21st century military. Despite the inevitable legal and ethical problems of their use as unmanned weapons, they provide a way of approaching future war fighting where precious human trained manpower can be kept out of the most life threatening tasks. If a new disruptive technology provides a way of keeping soldiers out of harm’s way, it has a marked value. And as military history reveals, the advent of new technologies that revolutionise the battlefield has no respect for short-term budgetary constraints. In the 19th century, the Austrian military commanders decided not to pay for the latest new breech-loading rifle, and therefore lost in their next confrontation with the Prussian Army which was using the latest technology. Sequestration and fiscal constraint cannot be the only argument for not considering and developing potentially disruptive new technologies which, if used by the opposition, may give them the advantage of surprise.

www.defenceindustryreports.com | 13


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION ALTERNATIVE ENERGY UAV TECHNOLOGY

References: 1

 The Future of UAVs: RUSI The Future of UAVs: Concepts and Considerations

Air Vice-Marshal Jon Lamonte, MA BSc CMath FCMI FIMA FIOD FRAeS FRIN CDipAF CDir RAF Chief of Staff Strategy, Policy & Plans

2

United States Government Audit Office

3

House of Common’s Library, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones): an introduction

Standard Note: Last updated: Author: Section SN06493
25 April 2013
Louisa Brooke-Holland International Affairs and Defence

4

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

5

Presenter: DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar April 24, 2013

Press Briefing with DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar from the Pentagon Presenter: DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar April 24, 2013

6

7

Press Briefing with DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar from the Pentagon Presenter: DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar April 24, 2013

8

Press Briefing with DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar from the Pentagon The Future of UAVs: RUSI The Future of UAVs: Concepts and Considerations

9

Air Vice-Marshal Jon Lamonte, MA BSc CMath FCMI FIMA FIOD FRAeS FRIN CDipAF CDir RAF Chief of Staff Strategy, Policy & Plans The Future of UAVs: RUSI The Future of UAVs: Concepts and Considerations

Air Vice-Marshal Jon Lamonte, MA BSc CMath FCMI FIMA FIOD FRAeS FRIN CDipAF CDir RAF Chief of Staff Strategy, Policy & Plans

10

Nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons

11

Micro Air Vehicle

12

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/cst/bugs_ch06.pdf

13

Small Power: The Role of Micro and Small UAVs in the Future By James M. Abatti, Major, USAF Miniature surveillance helicopters help protect front line troops Organisation:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/miniature-surveillance-helicopters-help-protect-front-line-troops 14

15

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/cst/bugs_ch06.pdf Small Power: The Role of Micro and Small UAVs in the Future By James M. Abatti, Major, USAF http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/03/darpa-drones-ships/ Pentagon’s Mad Scientists Want to Launch Killer Drones From Small Warships BY DAVID AXE

16

http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2013/05/15.aspx

PA SEEKS TECHNOLOGY TO RADICALLY IMPROVE DISMOUNTED SQUAD SITUATIONAL AWARENESS, COMMUNICATION EFFECTIVENESS May 15, 2013

17

18

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-06/27/d-dalus-drone D-Dalus drone can fly without wings or rotors AUTOPIA 27 JUNE 11 by MARK BROWN http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/06/23/completely-new-kind-aircraft-propulsion-system-made-rotating-cylinders/ No Jets, No Problem: Completely New Kind of Aircraft Debuts Published June 23, 2011 Popular Science

14 | www.defenceindustryreports.com


Defence Industry Reports… the Defence Industry Reports….the leading specialist combined leading specialist online research andcombined networking online research and networking resource for senior military and resource for senior military and defence industry professionals. defence industry professionals.

 •p toUpthe U minute Industry News other content available to the minute Industryand and Technology Technology News andand other content available to to allallsite users on a free of charge, open access basis. site users on a free of charge, open access basis.

 •ualified Q signed upupmembers abletoto access premium content Qualified signed members are are able access premium content SpecialSpecial Reports andand interact with usinga variety a variety of advanced Reports interact withtheir their peers peers using of advanced onlineonline networking tools. networking tools.

Designed to help usersidentify identify new solutions, understand the the  •esigned D to help users newtechnical technical solutions, understand implications of differenttechnical technical choices select the the bestbest solutions implications of different choicesand and select solutions available. available.

Thought Leadership Advice and from internationally recognised  •hought T Leadership – -Advice andguidance guidance from internationally recognised defence industry key opinion leaders. leaders defence industry key opinion

Input - Contributions from senior military personnel and defence industry  •eerPeer P Input – Contributions from senior military personnel and defence professionals industry professionals.

Independent Editorial Content – Expert and authoritative analysis from winning journalists and leading industry commentators award winning journalists and leading industry commentators.

Unbiased Supplier Provided Content.

Designed debate. • Writtento tofacilitate the highest professional standards

Written to the highest professional standards.

Independent Editorial Content - Expert and authoritative analysis from award

Unbiased Supplier Provided Content

Designed to facilitate debate

Visit: www.defenceindustryreports.com


Special Report – Next Generation Alternative Energy UAV Technology  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Next Generation Alternative Energy UAV Technology

Special Report – Next Generation Alternative Energy UAV Technology  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Next Generation Alternative Energy UAV Technology