Orbital Corporation Ltd (Orbital UAV) has announced the delivery of the first new engine prototypes for the second engine program with Textron Systems, one of the world’s largest suppliers of tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (‘TUAVs’).
The upgrades have targeted increased take-off power and improved real-time engine health monitoring and diagnostics capability. Orbital UAV was contracted by Textron Systems for the development of upgrades to existing engines for the company’s Aerosonde® unmanned aircraft system (UAS).
Textron Systems’ Aerosonde® UAS is field-proven with more than 600,000 flight hours. Providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities for land and maritime operations, the Aerosonde® UAS is equipped for day/night full-motion video, communications relay, signals intelligence and customer-selected payloads in a single flight.
Evaluation of the prototype engines is now being conducted by Textron Systems. Subject to customer acceptance, the program is anticipated to enter production in the first half of financial year 2024, dependent on customer demand.
Todd Alder, CEO and Managing Director of Orbital UAV commented “Having identified and agreed the optimal upgrade pathway for the engine program, we are pleased to provide these initial prototype engines for evaluation. The Aerosonde platform is one of the most recognisable UAS in operation and we are incredibly proud that the Textron Systems team has chosen Orbital UAV to conduct this upgrade program”.
In addition to this engine upgrade program, Orbital UAV is also progressing the integration of a new engine design into Textron Systems’ Aerosonde® Hybrid Quad UAS, incorporating the Company’s proprietary fuel and control systems.