Energy-Harvesting Hybrid Tiger Soars for Long Distance, Long Endurance: 24–48 Hours

Energy-Harvesting Hybrid Tiger Soars for Long Distance, Long Endurance: 24–48 Hours

Hybrid Tiger aloft, courtesy NRL.

An extended-endurance photo voltaic/hovering/fueled UAV, designed and constructed to exhibit synergistic vary and multi-day endurance advantages via an built-in energy administration system and optimum autonomous path planning, gave a public demo on the Naval Research Laboratory’s (NRL’s) Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland.

Hybrid Tiger is a Group 2 UAV (sometimes 21-55 kilos, function under 3,500 toes AGL at speeds lower than 250 knots), 16 kg (34 kilos), 5.7 m (18.7 toes) wingspan autonomous air automobile that’s launched from a tether. It employs two energy-harvesting methods:

• auto-soaring, autonomously discovering and exploiting thermal updrafts to reap vitality from them by rising;

• built-in photo voltaic, with distinctive co-cured photo voltaic panel integration course of using high-efficiency photovoltaics, enabling almost “free” flight throughout daylight.

The two methods are backed by an onboard high-pressure hydrogen gas tank and gas cell system that present nighttime energy in an built-in energy administration system. Such in a single day endurance has beforehand been very troublesome for tactical automobiles to maintain.

Hybrid Tiger energy administration system. Courtesy NRL.

This was Hybrid Tiger’s first 24-hour flight.  Its NRL forerunner, Ion Tiger, had unofficial flight endurance data of 26 hours (with a gasoline hydrogen gas supply) and 48 hours (with a liquid hydrogen gas supply).

“Extrapolating the flight endurance of Hybrid Tiger from the latest flight information suggests it could attain this system aim flight endurance,” stated Richard Stroman, Ph.D., a mechanical engineer from the NRL Chemistry Division. Flight simulations advised flight endurances predicted for summer season situations are sensible at decrease latitudes and with larger photo voltaic vitality.

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory aerospace engineers, Mike Schuette, Trent Young, and Sam Carter, put together the horizontal tail for the Hybrid Tiger Unmanned Aerial Vehicle flight demonstration at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, Nov. 18.

“The flight was successfully a efficiency take a look at in worst-case situations: temperatures falling under zero levels Celsius, winds gusting to twenty knots, and comparatively little photo voltaic vitality as we approached the photo voltaic solstice Dec. 21,” Stroman stated. “Despite all of that, Hybrid Tiger carried out properly.” The Aberdeen flight demo was carried out on Nov. 18, 2020, however solely just lately introduced by the NRL.

NRL researchers have developed energy-aware energy administration algorithms, which range operational modes and generate a automobile navigation technique primarily based on climate forecasts and domestically noticed alternatives for vitality harvesting

While Hybrid Tiger was developed for the Department of Defense wants in thoughts, it exhibits promise for atmospheric analysis and business purposes.

Another flight demonstration is deliberate for this spring, to achieve Hybrid Tiger’s most projected endurance of two days.

Hybrid Tiger was developed as an entire system that may be transitioned on to trade; nevertheless, its applied sciences can be used individually to enhance the efficiency of different unmanned methods, based on the Lab. NRL is a scientific and engineering command devoted to analysis that drives modern advances for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps from the seafloor to house and within the info area. It employs roughly 2,500 civilian scientists, engineers and assist personnel.

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory aerospace engineers carry Hybrid Tiger to the launch location at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, Nov. 18. Courtesy U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.