UAV Turbines has announced the inaugural flight of its Monarch 5 engine, a miniature version of the type of propulsion system usually found in much larger aircraft.
The company unveiled what it claims is a “first-of-its-kind microturbine propulsion system” at Griffiss International Airport in Rome, NY.
The aim of the new turboprop technology is to provide mid-sized commercial and military drones with a reliable, efficient, safe, heavy-fuel propulsion system.
Growth in the commercial UAV market depends on engine advances
Many medium-sized commercial drones are powered by gasoline engines, which can be noisy, unreliable and weak in terms of power output.
UAV Turbines says their new propulsion system is quiet, easier to maintain and safer than current designs.
Which is important. The commercial UAV market is expected to see significant growth in the coming years, particularly as regulations catch up to enable use cases that require bigger and better drones, such as medical and cargo delivery and transportation.
UAV Turbines will be hoping the new Monarch 5 will be at the forefront of that boom and meet the safety, flight duration and reliability requirements for the commercial applications of the future.
The successful test flights this week are the first step down that road.
“After years of innovative and intensive design and engineering work, we are elated to see our first Monarch propulsion system take flight in a TigerShark airframe from Navmar Applied Science Corp.,” said Kirk Warshaw, CEO of UAV Turbines.
“This flight is proof positive that our team is without peer in the development of small turboprop engine systems. Our attention now turns to working with commercial and military partners to develop airframes around our Monarch 5 propulsion system, similar to the manner that manned aircraft are designed and developed. Furthermore, we believe our Monarch engine’s capabilities will be instrumental in driving the urban air mobility and defense industries forward in making unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) as commonplace as airplanes, trucks and ships for both commercial and defense use.”
“The capabilities the Monarch engine family brings to the UAV industry are game-changing,” said Major General (retired) William T. “Tim” Crosby, Chairman of UAV Turbines’ Board of Advisors.
“The successful test flight of the Monarch propulsion system proves that reliability, added safety, and efficiency is now available to the end-user, whether they be military or commercial, in a variety of platforms. This engine will be instrumental in the continued growth and development of the UAV market.”