Rapid Prototype Development of a Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Powered by a Hybrid-Electric Propulsion System
Date of Award
Master of Science in Systems Engineering
Department of Systems Engineering and Management
David R. Jacques, PhD.
Richard G. Cobb, PhD.
Remotely-Piloted Aircraft (RPA) provide users with unique mission capabilities, particularly on-demand overhead surveillance. However, a capability gap has been identified between the range and endurance of RPAs powered by internal combustion engines (ICE) and the reduced acoustic signature and smaller logistical footprint associated with electric-powered RPAs. This research, sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, aims at advancing systems engineering education by evaluating the utility of a tailored systems engineering approach. The tailored systems engineering approach used herein focuses on conducting a concept evaluation study on the rapid prototype development of a parallel hybrid-electric RPA (HE-RPA) and its ability to fill an identified mission capability gap. The concept evaluation utilizes a tailored systems engineering process to conduct a rapid prototype development and system evaluation. Two prototype RPAs and a support system are designed, integrated, and tested within a 13 month time window, in accordance with an established architectural framework. The integration of a parallel hybrid-electric system into an RPA demonstrated a potential reduction in acoustic signature and improves endurance over electric powered RPAs; however, immature technology and added system complexity result in overall performance that is currently on par with ICE-powered RPAs and only partially satisfies the capability gap.
DTIC Accession Number
Molesworth, Michael P. and English, Jacob K., "Rapid Prototype Development of a Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Powered by a Hybrid-Electric Propulsion System" (2012). Theses and Dissertations. 1299.