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Advanced Propulsion and Power Concepts for Large Size Class Unmanned Aerial…

Award Information

Department of Defense
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2013 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
12108 Burning Tree Rd. Fort Wayne, IN -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2013
Title: Advanced Propulsion and Power Concepts for Large Size Class Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)
Agency: DOD
Contract: FA8650-13-M-2398
Award Amount: $148,973.00


ABSTRACT: Desired tactical requirements for unmanned aerial systems (UASs) exceed current capabilities for performance, reliability, maintainability, cost and supportability. Mission requirements such as extended endurance, increased power for auxiliary/sensor systems, and low altitude, low speed maneuverability are becoming paramount, specifically, in the 10,000 lb class of vehicles. These desired capabilities are not currently optimized with present engine-based propulsion systems. Engine Research Associates, Inc. (ERA) developed and manufactures the Migrating Combustion Chamber (MCC) internal combustion engine, which has the potential to be the next generation quiet, reliable, low weight heavy fuel engines that will meet the desired next generation UAV mission requirements. It operates on a new cycle of operation that offers a very quiet and cool exhaust (without the need for a muffler), high efficiency, low vibration, reduced weight, low manufacturing costs and is simple to service. The MCC engine is scalable from 0.4 HP to well over 1,100 HP. The overall objective of ERA's proposed Phase I development program is to establish a baseline approach for a 1,100 HP MCC heavy fuel engine system integrated with an advanced high power density 70 kW generator to meet the desired mission requirements. This will be established by modeling and empirical analysis. BENEFIT: The overall DoD and commercial market need for such an advanced MCC engine (and high power density generator system); although hard to estimate, is considered to be substantial in supporting the next generation UAS missions and filling various enhanced commercial market needs. The direct benefit of this development would be the next generation of high power-to-weight, quiet, compact, heavy fuel engine - generator systems for various military markets. Such a system does not presently exist in the military or commercial market place. Typical key markets include UASs, various marine applications, large back-up power systems and various vehicles that desire a smooth, quiet and light weight 1,100+ HP heavy fuel engine. Variants of this MCC engine configuration would also provide the capability to operate on other fuels such as gasoline, biofuels, propane and natural gas which will create additional commercial opportunities. There is also a large demand for this type of engine system in other Federal and State Agency applications such as law enforcement, Homeland Security, emergency service, RPA performing intelligence, surveillance, search and rescue, and disaster relief missions. In the international market diesel fuel may be the only fuel available and could cost substantially less than gasoline. There is a great demand for diesel engines in many countries and this will be a growing market in the future.

Principal Investigator:

Jeffery L. Erickson
Principal Investigator
(260) 338-1010

Business Contact:

Geroge S. Lewis
Vice President
(260) 485-3752
Small Business Information at Submission:

Engine Research Associates, Inc.
12108 Burning Tree Rd. Fort Wayne, IN -

EIN/Tax ID: 351276214
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No