Northwest UAV has announced that its NW-44 Heavy-Fuel Engine for unmanned aerial vehicles has reached a milestone of over 1500 combat flights. The Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) propulsion solution is designed for small UAVs in both the defense and commercial sectors.
A complete turn-key COTS engine system designed for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS), the NW-44 Engine is a lightweight, heavy-fuel engine that supports aircraft in the category of 40- 80 lb (18-35 kg) Max Gross Takeoff Weight (MGTOW). This Aviation Grade, combat proven, reliable, extremely quiet propulsion system is currently supporting the US military’s Tier II UAV sector and the FAA’s 55 lb weight class UAS and has gained considerable industry interest.
“We’re proud of this milestone for the NW-44 Heavy-Fuel Engine,” President and Owner of NWUAV, Chris Harris says of the NW-44 Engine logging over 1500 flights. “But we aren’t surprised. The NW-44 offers something unique in the small unmanned aircraft systems market – consistency. Most systems are based on hobby engines which are inconsistent from engine to engine, a throw-away after its short life. One NW-44 engine can log a thousand or more flight hours and multiple overhauls. They’re designed to allow simple routine maintenance, and periodic overhauls much like a jet engine.”
Northwest UAV’s Chief Technical Officer Jeff Ratcliffe is convinced that the NW-44 engine’s unique design for overhaul isn’t the only reason it continues to be a popular propulsion choice.
“The NW-44 is a very adaptable engine,” Ratcliffe explains. “It is built to support the 55 lb commercial market and Military Tier II UAV needs, which makes it the go-to engine for a wide variety of customers. Its adaptability is yet another reason it’s a very cost-effective solution. Rather than designing and building their own purpose-built engine, our customers can quickly, easily and affordably take advantage of the NW-44 Engine’s standard professional aviation features to fit their needs.”
For customers who fall outside of the Tier II weight range, NWUAV is developing and testing a series of engines that borrow the design elements of the NW-44 Engine and offer similar capabilities for larger vehicles. Borrowing design elements from the NW-44 greatly expedites the development process and is proving successful in testing.