Lockheed Martin is working to extend the endurance of its Fury unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to 15 hours.
Fury is a tactical-level UAS that Lockheed Martin is pitching as a substitute for many of the roles currently carried out by medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) platforms.
The company plans to increase the flight time through the introduction of a new propulsion system in the form of its developmental 1803 engine, an evolution of the 1802 unit that the aircraft is currently fitted with. The engine has a commercial off-the-shelf core that is modified by Lockheed Martin for the Fury application. Kevin Westfall, Lockheed Martin’s director of unmanned systems, told Jane’s that the new engine will be rated at 24 bhp.
The 15-hour endurance figure is a projection at this point, as the 1803 engine is yet to be flight tested. However, Westfall said that the engine has completed Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 33.49 testing, amassing over 200 hours on the ground.
Westfall said that testing of Fury has ramped up in 2017, with a higher tempo of flights (approaching 500 hours) than in previous years, including with payloads.
“Fury has conducted multiple demonstrations to showcase more than 12-hour endurance with the 1802 engine configuration, while simultaneously operating 100 lbs [45.4 kg] of payload, including electro-optical/infrared surveillance systems, voice communications relays, satcom links, and multiple signals intelligence payloads … We have increased Fury’s reliability and maintainability with multiple improvements that enhance its low-speed efficiency, endurance, and sensor integration.”
“Our testing this year has been in support of fielding the system and proving reliability. Next year will focus on refining features. Upcoming flights will include 1803 engine functional tests and endurance tests,” Westfall explained.
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