Microturbine engine maker performs breakthrough UAV flight

By Luke Geiver | September 25, 2019

UAV Turbines recent test light near Rome, New York, proves that in the world of unmanned aircraft systems technology, the best technologies used today are only getting better for tomorrow. The Florida-based propulsion engine testing and development team flew a fixed-wing UAV with its Monarch 5 microturbine propulsion system. The system allows the drone platform to operate with a durable power source that outperforms conventional engines.

“After years of innovative and intensive design and engineering work, we are elated to see our first Monarch propulsion system take flight in a TigerShark airframe from Navmar Applied Science Corp.,” said Kirk Warshaw, CEO of UAV Turbines.

“Our attention,” Warshaw added, “now turns to working with commercial and military partners to develop airframes around our Monarch 5 propulsion system, similar to the manner that manned aircraft are designed and developed. Furthermore, we believe our Monarch engine’s capabilities will be instrumental in driving the urban air mobility and defense industries forward in making unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) as commonplace as airplanes, trucks and ships for both commercial and defense use.”

In 2018, UAV Turbines entered into a technical investment agreement with the U.S. military to develop its propulsion system.

The UAV Turbines team hinted that after its inaugural flight of the Monarch 5 will change the way people think about UAVs and what they believe to understand as possible.

“The capabilities the Monarch engine family brings to the UAV industry are game-changing,” said Major General (retired) William T. “Tim” Crosby, Chairman of UAV Turbines’ Board of Advisors. “The successful test flight of the Monarch propulsion system proves that reliability, added safety, and efficiency is now available to the end-user, whether they be military or commercial, in a variety of platforms. This engine will be instrumental in the continued growth and development of the UAV market.”

The Monarch 5 can run off several different fuels, including jet fuel and biodiesel. The current iteration of the engine includes remote start, quiet operation volumes and requires less maintenance between flights. According to UAV Turbines the new engine design also requires less runway for takeoffs and can reach optimal flight altitudes quicker, allowing the drone to fly on station for longer periods of time.