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Andrew McClinton MEE 425 Aircraft Design History for the Request For Proposals Unmanned Arial Vehicles

s (UAVs) have been around since the advent of the aviation industry. It has not been until the last 30 years, however, that UAVs have been found useful in offensive military applications. Recently, especially in the current conflicts in the Middle East, a particular emphasis has been put on the use of UAVs in active military environments due to their extended operations capability, reduction of likelihood of loss of military personnel. With the advent of more advanced low observable capabilities, greater fidelity in the methods of long range communications, and better aircraft designs, UAVs are beginning to play a larger role in the battlefield of today. UAVs originally were invented to serve at targets for aircraft and anti-aircraft forces in the early twentieth century. The earliest known attempt at an unmanned flying vehicle was invented by an English engineer by the name of Archibald Low in 1916 (Taylor, A. J. P. Jane's Book of Remotely Piloted Vehicles). Lows aircraft was intended to serve as a target for training pilots in World War I. Lows aircraft, in addition to others, never entered full production due to the end of the First World War (howitworks.com). Few advancements were made in the field until the years leading up to the second World War. Up to and during World War II, UAVs were still primarily being used as targets in training pilots and antiaircraft gunners, and were being designed and build by both the Allied forces and the Axis powers. The Germans were the first to design a purely offensive UAV, which they dubbed Revenge Weapon 1, or more commonly known as the V-1 buzz bomb. The V-1, nicknamed for the buzzing sound generated by the mounted pulse detonation engine, can be seen below in Figure 1.

Figure 1 This is a photograph of the German made Revenge Weapon 1, more commonly known as the V-1 Buzz Bomb. This purely offensive UAV was used to bomb London and other targets from the Nazi controlled European main land. The buzz bomb had fixed aerodynamic surfaces, and were unable to maneuver once launched. The bomb was aimed by launching in the general direction of the enemy with a range determined by the fuel carried onboard. Photo courtesy of: http://military.wikia.com/wiki/V-1_Buzzbomb.

It wasnt until the 1960s that the United States Air Force began considering the use of UAVs to reduce the number of pilots lost over enemy territory and in combat. Early efforts by the US in unmanned flight, such as the AQM-34 Ryan Firebee, were launched and controlled by a host aircraft and were used for

surveillance in areas considered too hostile or too far away for piloted aircraft to perform (howitworks.com). In the late 1970s and 80s, UAVs developed by Israel and the US, namely the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) Scout and the joint Israel-US RQ-2 Pioneer, began the modern UAV race. The IAI Scout, which can be seen below in Figure 2, featured the ability to transmit a 360 view video feed to the operator, though the quality of the video initially limited the functionality of the UAV (howitworks.com). Despite the limited functionality, these aircraft were valuable because they were inexpensive to produce and hard to detect and destroy. The relatively small size of the Scout and Pioneer in conjunction with the large lifting surface gave these UAVs the capability of being launched and recovered from remote locations, and allowed them to have range and endurance in excess of 100 nm and 7 hrs (2005 AIAA UAV roundup poster).

Figure 2 The Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) Scout, developed in the 1970s, was a reconnaissance UAV that featured a camera capable of observing a full 360 view of the terrain and transmitting the video to the operators. Having a wingspan of 16.25 feet made the Scout hard to detect using traditional detection methods such as radar. Photo courtesy of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IAI_Scout

The capabilities and benefits of the IAI Scout and Pioneer laid the foundation of the modern UAV industry. With the help of a better understanding of aerodynamics and significant advances in electronic technology, UAVs gained more capabilities such as reconnaissance and even attack. Modern UAVs are able to travel further and are capable of being airborne for much longer periods of time. Also, to increase the capabilities and applications, modern UAVs have been designed with the ability to carry and deploy offensive countermeasures such as air to air and air to ground missiles in addition to having the ability to designate targets for munitions deployed by other vehicles. In an effort to quantify the increasing capabilities of modern UAVs, research was conducted and a list of aircraft, their dimensions, and available specifications was constructed to allow comparisons to be visualized. Table 1, which can be seen below, shows a summary of the data collected. Due to the current status of the UAVs use in military applications, many aircraft had to be excluded from the analysis due to lack of pertinent information such as weights, endurances, ranges, and engine data.

Table 1 This table is a summary of the pertinent data collected for the UAVs researched. The aircraft date back to 1973 and are all similar in mission scope and purpose to that which will be designed. Notice, some information could not be found due to the data being security sensitive.

The data gathered shows a common trend in the increase in overall endurance and other design features of UAVs over time. In general, the range, endurance and payload capability have increased over time, as will be explained in the remainder of the report. It is important, however, to bear in mind that each aircraft was designed to a unique set of design points and that the overall trend does not necessarily reflect the overall desire to increase these parameters. For each of the following analyses, the design year of each aircraft has been plotted against the particular trait being examined. Assembling each graph into a scatter plot allows general trends to be established with the aid of a trend line. The aircraft selected for comparison were designed for a similar purpose to that which is to be designed. The first two parameters examined over the progression of the UAV industry were endurance and range. These parameters are important because they determine the mission capabilities and limit the applications of the aircraft to be designed. Figure 3, which can be found below, shows the plot of the aircraft design year and the respective range of each aircraft.

Figure 3 This plot shows the design year versus the range of the respective aircraft chosen for the analysis. As you can see by the dark trend line, the range of the UAVs has increased steadily over the last twenty years.

As can be seen in Figure 3, the range of the UAVs being designed over the last four decades has increased. This trend may be a product of better technology, better designs, or even different design specifications. Regardless of the reason, it is logical that more endurance and range allows an aircraft to be applicable in a wider variety of situations. Also, having a larger area of operation is beneficial in terms of cost because it means that fewer aircraft may be needed to occupy any given area. The second comparison made plotted the aircraft design year versus the endurance of the respective aircraft, which can be seen in Figure 4, below. Based on the increase in range of the aircraft over the last twenty years, it was hypothesized that there would be a corresponding increase in endurance for the aircraft. This can also be attributed to better technology, better design, and different design criteria.

Figure 4 This plot shows the relation between design year and the endurance of the corresponding aircraft. As can be observed with the help of the best fit line, there is a steady increase in endurance of UAVs over the last forty years.

As hypothesized, with the endurance plotted versus the design year, a steady increase in endurance is observed over the last couple decades. It makes sense that there is a correlation between the increase in range and endurance because the two factors are partially related. Both endurance and range are linked through the average cruising velocity, weight of the aircraft, and how much fuel is carried on board. It is difficult to pin down any one explanation, however, because everything on an aircraft is interdependent. Finally, the payload each aircraft was plotted versus the design year of the respective aircraft. Payload is a key design point because higher payloads allow for more equipment to be carried, adding capabilities to the aircraft. As UAVs have become increasingly popular in todays militaries, there is a need for the capability of carrying more weight. As can be seen in Figure 5, below, an increase in payload was observed for the aircraft selected.

Figure 5 This plot shows the change payload for the aircraft chosen in the research. The payload for these UAVs may be subject to error due to the definition of payload. Because the surveillance equipment is standard for the aircraft, it may not be considered payload. This means that some aircraft may have a higher (or lower) payload capability than what was listed in the sources of information.

An increase in payload capability, as seen in Figure 5, is important an increase in payload can be correlated with a wider application of a UAV. Be it different types of cameras, munitions, or fuel, having more payload increases the application capabilities of the aircraft and allows it to be used in a wider variety of scenarios. This further reduces the need for humans to be in potentially threatening situations, and reduces the need for large numbers of UAVs because one aircraft can carry a heavier work load. The original UAVs were designed to remove the need for a pilot to be in the aircraft as it travels through hostile skies. While it will be impossible to completely remove the need for pilots in the military, the number of pilots in potentially life threatening situations can be reduced. With such a large variety of tasks performed by manned aircraft in the military today, it is logical that a more adaptable UAV can perform many of these tasks without putting a pilot in the line of fire. In addition to reducing the risk on pilots, UAVs are cheaper than manned aircraft performing similar tasks because a manned aircraft requires hundreds of systems and components to ensure the pilots safety. In a UAV, design costs are significantly reduced because they do not have to worry about ensuring pilots safety.