Ricardo Reveals Wolverine Engines for UAVs
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Wolverine 3 is a 3.1-horsepower, two-cylinder, two-stroke, air-cooled engine with spark ignition, direct fuel injection and 500 watts of on-board power, thanks to an integrated starter-generator. The engine completed its first test on the dynamometer in early May and it will now be installed in a small tactical UAV.
“UAVs are extremely versatile and give our soldiers tactical and operational advantages on the battlefield. That’s why the Pentagon’s investment in UAVs has more than doubled to $4 billion since 2006,” Kent Niederhofer, president of Ricardo’s North American subsidiary Ricardo, said in a release.
“In addition, UAVs are becoming an increasingly valuable tool for border protection, drug interdiction, fire-fighting and more. Whatever the mission, Ricardo will engineer Wolverine engines that are far more capable and vastly more reliable than what’s in use today,” Niederhofer added.
In order to properly develop the Wolverine 3, Ricardo worked with military and civilian experts, including Rick Scudder, director of the University of Dayton (Ohio) Research Institute’s Center for UAV Exploitation, and Larrell Walters, director of the University of Dayton-led Institute for Development and Commercialization of Advanced Sensors Technology.
“As we learned more from people with hands-on UAV development and in-field experience, we realized that an engine that isn’t purpose-built for aviation is going to be inherently compromised from the standpoint of performance, weight, package efficiency and durability,” said Stephen Cakebread, Ricardo Inc. project director, unmanned systems, and architect of the Wolverine 3.
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