05 May 16. K-MAX set for USMC demonstration role. Lockheed Martin is set to move its two K-MAX rotary-wing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to the Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona. Speaking to IHS Jane’s at AUVSI’s Xponential 2016 conference and exhibition, Lockheed Martin’s Jon McMillen said that the systems will act as testbed aircraft for the US Marine Corps (USMC) when they are deployed this summer. The aircraft were previously operational with the USMC in Afghanistan where they provided a cargo resupply capability. Following their return from theatre, the K-MAX systems were maintained by Lockheed Martin at their Owego, New York facilities. McMillen said that at Yuma, the aircraft will be operated by USMC personnel with maintenance and sustainment support from Lockheed Martin. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
05 May 16. Multi-Fuel UAV Engine Completes FAR 33 Test. Northwest UAV announces the successful completion of the rigorous FAR 33 Endurance Test on the NW-44 Multi-Fuel UAV propulsion system. The NW-44 testing was executed under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with oversight by the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). Endurance testing was completed March 19, 2016, following stringent 14CFR Part 33.49 guidelines. The 3.6hp NW-44 propulsion system operated for 60 hours at or above maximum continuous speed with a full 280-watt generator load while at extreme temperatures. The engine was also operated at or above maximum continuous speed for over 100 hours, receiving only normal maintenance and inspections throughout the evaluation. The entire test was conducted using logistically important heavy fuel; a kerosene based diesel fuel commonly used in military and commercial aviation.
After the successful Test of the NW-44 engine a 14CFR Part 33.55 compliant teardown inspection was performed. This inspection noted that all systems maintained full flight worthy status, showing only light wear and minimal carbon build up. The system has since been reassembled and is now back in service for continued validation testing up to its anticipated 400-hour overhaul.
The manned aviation industry utilizes the FAA’s FAR 33 guidelines as the baseline test to determine engine viability for certification of manned aircraft. The NW-44 is the only small UAS propulsion system designed to be FAR 33 Subpart C compliant. The associated airworthiness tests are exceedingly demanding and designed to push the engine well beyond its normal operating limits. The NW-44 engine has thoroughly established its capability of safely continuing operations in emergencies and other scenarios that may be outside of typical operations.
The test results have proven the NW-44 engine to be robust and reliable even when operated at the most extreme limits for extended periods of time. (Source: UAS VISION)
04 May 16. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. has successfully completed fuselage structural integrity testing of its Certifiable Predator® B (CPB) RPA.
“Completion of this testing signifies that the design of the new fuselage will be able to meet the strict requirements for type-certification and routine operations in national airspace,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “This fuselage is designed to meet lighting-strike, damage-tolerance, and turbulence-induced stress requirements specified by the NATO UAV [Unmanned Aerial Vehicle] Airworthiness Standard. It also will accommodate an integrated Detect & Avoid System, including an anti-collision radar system.”
Following a two-day Test Readiness Review (TRR), rigorous testing began in February at the company’s Research and Development Facility in California. The “proof testing” method allowed GA-ASI to evaluate and confirm the integrity of CPB’s fuselage quickly and economically, enabling assessments of increasing mechanical stresses at levels higher than the airframe will incur in flight. The resultant empirical data supports computational modeling, analyses, and verification to con