Bio-Cellular Design Aeronautics contracted Simera to develop the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system, to be designed as an affordable, fully autonomous air vehicle with exceptional endurance. It must also be highly transportable and have various operational capabilities. The project deliverables encompass the full product life cycle of requirements, from concept design and trade-off studies to detailed design, prototype manufacture and testing, final product design and production capability establishment.
The design philosophy for the UAV system is to combine the airframe/ aerodynamic design in development by Simera with off-the-shelf systems (where possible) to satisfy all system requirements. A numerical optimization code and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations were utilized to develop the advanced aerodynamic design optimized for wing efficiency. The optimized airframe geometry and composite structural design were subsequently analyzed with a Finite Element Method (FEM) numerical model designed to simulate expected worst-case load conditions. Following a technology assessment and trade-off studies, off-the-shelf systems from various international suppliers that best satisfied the requirements of each facet of the system were identified. Through interactions with these suppliers, the system interfaces were designed to achieve the detailed UAV system design. The UAV has a 2,8m wing span. It will cruise at 90km/h at 13 000ft (approximately 4000m) with an endurance in excess of 10 hours. The UAV system will go into production in 2019.
The project is currently in the prototype development stage with multiple flights performed to obtain real-world test data. Production-level tooling was designed and procured, and development of the composite airframe for the Prototype Air Vehicle is currently under way at Simera’s facilities. Prototype flight testing to demonstrate the capabilities of the system will commence following systems integration and hardware-in-the-loop testing.