WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio, 22 Jan. 2012. Systems designers at Lockheed Martin Corp. in Eagan, Minn., are moving ahead with a U.S. Air Force-sponsored project to develop and demonstrate a green hybrid small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that runs on renewable energy as part of the second phase of the Air Force Small Unmanned Renewable enerGy long Endurance Vehicle (SURGE-V) program.
Lockheed Martin won a $1.1 million contract Friday for development and ground demonstration of the integrated power system and payload into a SURGE-V hybrid UAV aircraft. Lockheed Martin and Elbit Systems of America LLC in Fort Worth, Texas, were selected last May to develop a green hybrid propulsion system for the SURGE-V green UAV program.
The SURGE-V unmanned aircraft is to be a hybrid-powered manpackable UAV that weighs less than 20 pounds and is able to carry a 4-pound electro-optical payload on missions over rough terrain lasting for at least four hours.
The latest contract, awarded by the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, represents the next phase of SURGE-V engine development and demonstration.
The SURGE-V UAV must be small enough to be carried and operated by one person for battlefield situational awareness missions. The hybrid-powered UAV must be able to land on rough terrain, and operate in winds stronger than 35 knots, in temperatures as cold as 30 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, and at altitudes as high as 25,000 feet in sandy, dusty conditions, as well as in fog, light rain and snow, and high humidity.
Lockheed Martin will develop the advanced power and propulsion system, as well as the SURGE-V aircraft, in a simulated operational environment. Designers will optimize the power and propulsion system for weight, volume, ruggedization, and performance.
Lockheed Martin engineers will test the SURGE-V aircraft and engine to MIL-STD-810G standards for shock and vibration, and demonstrate that the integrated UAV system is aerodynamically stable, capable of producing sufficient power-to-weight ratios for adequate climb performance, and has sufficient endurance in a simulated operational environment.
Lockheed Martin may do work on the SURGE-V program at a location other than Eagan, Minn., because the company plans to close the Eagan facility by 2013.
Last May Lockheed Martin and Elbit designed the SURGE-V hybrid propulsion system that runs on renewable energy. Now Lockheed Martin will concentrate on demonstrating the integrated power system and payload on a SURGE-V UAV. Ultimately, the Air Force may give Lockheed Martin the go-ahead to conduct flight demonstrations of the integrated system.