Russia Announces New Aerial Vehicle Engine for Defense Sector

  • The new engine will be made out of new generation cerment material.
  • Main application: unmanned aerial vehicles.
  • The engine passed all the bench testing.

Russia announced the development of the new single-section turbocharged rotary piston engine. The rotary engine carries out the same process as a combustion engine, but with a fraction of the components. There are no valves, no timing gears, no con-rods, no pistons, no crankshaft and only three main moving parts compared to the myriad of parts involved in making a ‘normal’ engine work. The development project was a partnership with the Foundation of Advanced Research and Russia’s Central Institute of Aviation.

The new engine is likely going to be used in Russia’s unmanned aerial vehicles.

The new engine specifications are:

  • Volume of 0.4 liters.
  • The weight of the rotor-stator module of the RPD is 28 kilograms.
  • The maximum peak power value reached during the motor determination tests was more than 120 horsepower.

The main task that faced the development of the new engine was to eliminate the lack of RPD, namely the low resource of the main engine elements and increase the overall resource of the power plant while improving its high specific characteristics.  The solution was to use a new generation of composite cermet materials with high physical and mechanical characteristics in the construction. Composites, in particular, are used in wear-resistant stator inserts, radial, oil-removing and end seals of the rotor, bearing assemblies, and wear-resistant coating of the eccentric shaft.

Round-the-clock resource tests lasting more than 250 hours for aircraft and helicopter work cycles were carried out.

During altitude and climate tests on the unique UV-3K stand with a thermal camera, the possibility of stable operation of the RPD in a wide range of temperatures — from -63.8°C to +52°C and altitudes — up to 10,000 meters, as well as the possibility of maintaining the take-off capacity up to a height of 7,000 meters was confirmed. The engine is capable of running on various types of fuel, including gas, aviation and automobile gasoline. The new engine uses a specially developed unique turbocharging system.  A Russian based electronic engine management system has also been developed and a modern fuel supply system has been designed.

According to the FPI website the fund was established on the basis of Federal law No. 174-FZ of October 16, 2012. The mission of the fund is to promote research and development purely for the Russia defense sector and security, including high risk development. One can state that “any means necessary” would be an accurate description of the work done there. In other words, human capital can be lost for the greater good. Last year’s tragedy of Losharik comes to mind.

The solution seems to apply the use of the composite cermet materials, which have high physical and mechanical characteristics.

The solution seems to apply the use of the composite cermet materials, which have high physical and mechanical characteristics.

A cermet is a composite material composed of ceramic (cer) and metal (met) materials. A cermet is ideally designed to have the optimal properties of both a ceramic, such as high temperature resistance and hardness, and those of a metal, such as the ability to undergo plastic deformation.

However, the application of the cermet materials is not new and there are currently close to 10,000 patents pertaining to the aerospace-grade ceramics, since the Cold War Era. The leader is General Electric with the highest number of patents, The other major players include Siemens. Boeing, Lanxide and few others. Northrup Grumman holds the fewest patents in this specific category. The reason for the attraction to the material is its high heat resistance capabilities.  Also, the lightweight factor comes into play as well as the non-corrosive element for prolonged use.

The new engine is likely going to be used in Russia’s unmanned aerial vehicles.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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