Microturbine capabilities extended to electrically powered UAVs

MIAMI, Fla. UAV Turbines, Inc. (UAVT), manufacturer of microturbine technology, announced that it demonstrated its Monarch Hybrid Range Extender (HREX), a microturbine-powered generator technology that extends the range of electrically powered, medium-sized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

According to the company, the HREX developmental system can extend the endurance of a variety of electrically powered UAVs now in development, while providing the reliability of a gas turbine system.

In UAV Turbines’ HREX system, the engine extracts energy from the fuel and uses it to power the propulsion motor directly, with any excess electric power used to top off the battery charge. This increases range before the weight of the added fuel becomes uneconomical, according to reports from the manufacturer.

A test system set up at a UAVT laboratory uses the same Monarch 5 turboprop engine that recently powered a Group 3 Tigershark aircraft. The electrical output of the generator is used via a motor controller to power an electrical motor driving a propeller, as it would in an electrical propulsion airplane.