skip to main content

Israeli MoD looking at petrol-engine quadcopter UAVs to lift heavier loads

The Israeli company Aerotor is developing the Apus 50 unmanned quadcopter to carry a 30 kg payload. (Aerotor)

The Israel Ministry of Defense's Directorate of Defense Research & Development (DDR&D) and the Aerotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) company are jointly developing a platform that appears to be a front runner for the future main air logistical system for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Raz Geva, CEO and co-founder of Aerotor, told Janes that the two UAVs his company is developing, the Apus 15, which is already a functioning prototype, and the Apus 50, are based on a new technology that enables unprecedented flight endurance, payload, and speed.

In contrast to the usual multirotor UAVs that have electric motors for each rotor, enabling them to independently change their revolutions per minute (RPMs) for manoeuvres, the Apus concept uses a central petrol engine that powers four rotors that change their angle, not their RPM.

“Once we finished working on fixed RPMs, we had to solve the issue of conducting yaw rotation [to change direction]. Here we found a solution, and from that moment, we have been working on this development and proving it is scalable,” said Aharon Agronov, Aerotor's CTO and other co-founder.

He explained that, while the endurance and payload of electrically powered UAVs decrease with size as they require heavier batteries, performance improves with larger petrol engines as the aircraft's weight decreases as it burns fuel. “Size is a plus in this technology,” he added.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...