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WUT’s flying target, PW- 61 up in the air soon

First flight of the model made to scale (PW-60), September 2013

A team of researchers from WUT’s Faculty of Power and Aeronautical Engineering is working on a conceptual and technical project of a flying target – named PW-61.

Flying targets have been widely used by military forces for training on different test ranges for many years.They should be speedy, manoeuvrable, cheap, easily-deployed and able to be recovered multiple times (if not destroyed by live ammunition, but hit by laser). In addition, they must have relatively low take-off weight and endurance of the order of 1 hour minimum.

Some of these requirements are at odds with each other, so a trade-off analysis must be performed. Design activity is supplemented by theoretical, numerical and experimental analyses, and is also based on recommendations obtained in flight testing using the so-called scaled flying models. The full-scale flying targets will be tested on different test ranges in Spring 2015.

An important part of this project is the selection of the tailplane configuration of the flying target UAV in order to protect expensive on-board systems against serious damage, another is the quest to obtain sufficient dynamic stability, independent of the amount of petrol in the fuel tanks. Inverted V-tail and classical H-tail configurations were considered and compared, both theoretically and in flight experiments. The influence of the number of engines on the simplicity of the design, between critical failures and the flight control algorithm, were also discussed in the meantime.

The PW-61 was initially designed as an upper-wing configuration with cantilever wing and V-tail empennage. However, the final user requested that the construction be of very simple, non-conjugated control characteristics (longitudinal and lateral channels completely separated), and due to some technical problems with take-off from pneumatic catapults, the V-tail empennage (PW-60) was replaced with an H-type classic empennage (PW-61). The wing of an asymmetric section has a monocoque structure with 2 main wing spars and fuel tanks. This wing is ended with winglets of negative dihedral.

The fuselage is also a monocoque structure with an integral-body fuel tank. On-board equipment is distributed in special compartments in the front and upper parts of fuselage, above the fuel tank. Access to components of the on-board equipment is easy due to double covers, from the top of the fuselage. A single jet engine (JET-CAT-P400) is attached to the upper part of fuselage, just behind the main wing. A flexible skid is attached to the ventral part of fuselage in order to absorb shocks in belly landing. Recovery by net also will be possible.

This flying target PW- 61 will be tested at Polish test facilities this Springtime.