Air-Launched Decoy Drone Under Development

By Mike Ball / 23 Jun 2021

wave engine decoy drone

Wave Engine Corporation has been awarded a contract by the USAF Armament Directorate to build and demonstrate the Versatile Air-Launched Platform (VALP), a multi-mission, air-launched UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that will be used primarily as a decoy. The system is being developed as part of the USAF’s efforts to develop high-impact technologies that will further aviation and aerial combat.

VALP leverages the company’s proprietary wave engine technology to demonstrate high-performance, low-cost propulsion for future generations of high-performance UAVs. Wave engines operate using pressure waves instead of rotating machinery. Intermittent combustion inside a hollow tube produces these waves, which push out hot gases and produce thrust. Wave Engine Corp.’s technology enables an order-of-magnitude reduction in the cost and complexity of jet propulsion, making it practical for a wide variety of aviation platforms for which jet propulsion was previously cost-prohibitive. It provides Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC) in a highly cost-effective powerplant that requires no moving parts.

The award was given after a highly competitive process that was hosted by the Armament Directorate and senior USAF officers to fund the most promising technologies to help the USAF achieve strategic goals for future capabilities. Wave Engine’s propulsion technology has previously seen investment from DARPA, and has recently undertaken successful flight demonstrations.

Daanish Maqbool, CEO of Wave Engine Corporation, commented: “The future of aircraft is smaller, more capable and more affordable. The aviation industry has long been stymied by the lack of high-performance engines for small aircraft, and we are here to break through this barrier. We’re proud to receive this highly competitive award from the USAF to bring forth this propulsion technology and help define the aviation landscape of the future.”

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact