Subscale LightningStrike completes flight test
Aurora's XV-24A LightningStrike VTOL XPlane subscale demonstrator has completed its flight test programme at Webster Outlying Field in Southern Maryland in the US, the company announced on 4 April.
The demonstrator is under development for DARPA's VTOL X-Plane programme. Aurora was awarded a Phase II contract for the programme in March 2016, following a multi-year Phase I design competition.
During its flight test campaign the aircraft successfully demonstrated key technical features the full-scale XV-24A will perform, including outbound and inbound transition flight.
The 320lbs lithium battery powered scale model of the 12,000lbs, 61ft wingspan XV-24A will supplement the full-scale XV-24A flight test programme, which is currently scheduled to begin in late 2018.
The XV-24A is a tilt-wing unmanned aerial vehicle powered by an Electric Distributed Propulsion system. Twenty four variable-pitch ducted fans driven by electric motors provide thrust for both hover and cruise. A single Rolls-Royce AE 1107C turboshaft engine drives three Honeywell generators which provide power to the wing and canard electric motors.
The XV-24A is being developed with the goal of achieving a top sustained flight speed of 300–400 knots, with 15% increase in hover efficiency and a two-fold increase in speed over helicopters. It is set to be the first aircraft to demonstrate distributed hybrid-electric propulsion using a synchronous electric-drive system.
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