Rotron Power Ltd, a leading manufacturer of advanced rotary-powered propulsion systems for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) applications, continues to raise the industry benchmark in weight, performance and reliability with the successful completion of a 1000 hour simulated flight endurance test. The test, carried out with its RT600-EXE engine, is the culmination of a prestigious grant from the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) to research new and innovative methods for extending the flight duration and longevity of UAV engines.
In January the RT600-EXE rotary engine completed 500 hours of simulated flight testing, demonstrating the capability and durability of the Rotron engine well beyond its original scoped service life and setting a new rated time before overhaul (TBO) for the RT600. UAV manufacturers and operators demand engines that provide maximum performance with an optimal purchase and cost per flight hour.
The reliability of UAV engines and its components is a major concern to the industry, combined with increased deployment to remote and inhospitable environments making the maintenance management of engines an even more complex logistical exercise. The operators now predominantly focus on understanding and predicting total life-cycle costs of their engines, its components and the ability to keep their aircraft flying and mission ready. To date, the UAV market has failed to deliver a high endurance propulsion system in the 40-60 max continuous horsepower category, with current engines achieving a typical rated flying time of no more than 150 hours before overhaul (TBO).
This latest achievement by Rotron in engine endurance and reliability is yet another significant increase in operational endurance – a staggering 850 hours in front of its competitors – and heralds a disruptive impact on the UAV industry.
Jim Edmondson (Rotron Power MD and Parent Company Gilo Industries Group CEO), said: “Rotron’s previous achievement was exciting for us as a company, but this latest achievement of 1000 hours is absolutely mindblowing. This really is testament to the team of engineers and technicians we have here at Rotron. Their positive determination to achieving the improvement in reliability and endurance of our engines allows us to be a disruptive force in the industry and deliver maximum mission-ready capabilities and reductions in costly maintenance schedules for our customers. Our engines allow operators to fly longer with superior performance compared to others in this field, and will continue to play a crucial role in the UAV industry well into the future.”