New Coaxial RPA Under US DoD Flight Trials

By Phoebe Grinter / 23 Feb 2022
Phenix Ultra 2XL

Phenix Solutions is flight testing its new Coaxial Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), the Phenix Ultra 2XL, with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) under the Agility Prime program. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Type Certification is in progress, with completion expected in early 2023. This will benefit civil and defense operators wishing to fly in civilian airspace.  

In 2019, Phenix Solutions successfully developed, produced, and conducted test flights of two Heavy Lift Rotary Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) concept demonstration platforms for the USAF Agility Prime program that consisted of a single rotor and quadcopter design. These prototype platforms helped Phenix refine the concept into a highly stable single-engine coaxial RPA.  

The Phenix Ultra 2XL replaces the initial quad engine prototype and provides greater range, stability, and hover performance. The coaxial system eliminates the need for a tail rotor, which is the most common cause of rotorcraft accidents: tail strikes. 

“The Phenix prototype flight testing validated our core flight control avionics, which allowed us to advance a ‘modular off-the-shelf’ coaxial design using best of breed technologies – delivering enhanced performance, reliability, and sustainability in an efficient and affordable multi-mission package,” said Brian Riese, President of Phenix Solutions. “The prototypes also help Phenix Solutions optimize propulsion and emerging rotor design by incorporating a ‘zero-maintenance’ virtual bearing counter-rotating differential coaxial blade system.  This radical design eliminates over 60% of the maintenance costs while increasing aircraft availability rates. The Ultra 2XL actually ‘bends the cost curve!’

“The Ultra 2XL is aimed at giving Ground Commanders an aerial logistic asset that can deliver combat supplies to units in an Advanced Expeditionary Basing Operations Concept. The Ultra 2XLwill serve Commanders that will now be able to direct when and where much-needed supplies are delivered to keep pace with operational demands.”  

Built to fit within a standard 20 ft shipping container for expeditionary deployment, the Phenix Ultra 2XL is specifically designed for rapid extraction/configuration and can be made flight-ready in less than 15 minutes by trained ground troops. Utilizing onboard technology, the Ultra 2XL features unprecedented operational reach – the backbone of Phenix Solutions’ visual imagery Detect and Avoid (DAA) core avionics. This enables operation Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) as well as the capability to avoid both potential obstacles and intruder aircrafts throughout all phases of flight. The RPA can lift nearly 2,000 lbs of payload and deliver to destinations over 200 miles away.

By using certified and proven Commercial Off-the-Shelf technologies (COTS), the Ultra 2XL offers significantly lower flyaway and total cost of ownership to both defense and civil operators.

“The Phenix Ultra 2XL is a game-changer for any operator wanting to increase earning potential, lower costs, and keep their pilots safe,” said Casey Zimmerman, Phenix Solutions Director of Sales and Business Development. “Whether it’s cargo, firefighting or agriculture – the Ultra 2XL delivers, and everyone here at Phenix is committed to these priorities!” 

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Posted by Phoebe Grinter Unmanned Systems Technology’s digital editor and copywriter Phoebe takes a fresh and enthusiastic approach to researching, writing and posting the latest unmanned technology updates, and in managing the UST social channels. Connect & Contact