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NW-88 engine development continues for UAVs

20th January 2022 - 11:41 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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NW-88 heavy-fuel engine. (Photo: Northwest UAV)

Designed to power Group 3 UAVs with a maximum take-off weight of 75-150lb (34-68kg), the NW-88 is derived from the NW-44 produced by Northwest UAV.

Northwest UAV announced on 17 January that its NW-88 heavy-fuel engine ‘now supports five new [types of uncrewed] air vehicles’ tasked with performing ‘challenging and ground-breaking’ expeditionary ISR missions.

Designed to power Group 3 UAVs with a take-off weight of 75-150lb (34-68kg), the NW-88 is derived from the NW-44. The new engine has completed flight tests ‘with several of the aircraft, accruing hundreds of flight hours throughout 2021’, Northwest UAV claimed in a statement.

While Northwest did not specify which aircraft have test-flown the NW-88, among the Group 3 UAVs listed in the Shephard Defence Insight database are the Boeing Insitu RQ-21A Blackjack and ScanEagle 3, the L3Harris Technologies FVR-90, the Aerosonde Hybrid Quadcopter SUAS and the V-Bat 118 and V-Bat 128 from Martin UAV.

In 2021, the NW-88 gained interim flight clearance in the US from Naval Air Systems Command and executed multiple test flights and operational demonstrations, including ISR and delivery applications with multiple platforms.

Further developmental test flights with all aircraft and initial field deployments are planned for 2022.

Northwest expects to continue R&D work on its largest heavy-fuel engine called the NW-230. This engine is under development and will begin initial testing in 2022.

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