WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio, 25 May 2011. Systems designers at Elbit Systems of America LLC in Fort Worth, Texas, and at Lockheed Martin Corp. in Eagan, Minn., will develop a green hybrid propulsion system running on renewable energy for small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as part of initial phase of the U.S. Air Force Small Unmanned Renewable enerGy long Endurance Vehicle (SURGE-V) program.
Scientists at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, awarded a $388,322 contract to Elbit and a $399,619 contract to Lockheed Martin to design prototype hybrid propulsion systems for the SURGE-V unmanned aircraft, which is envisioned to be a hybrid-powered manpackable UAV that weighs less than 20 pounds and is able to carry a 4-pound electro-optical payload on missions over rough terrain lasting for at least four hours.
The contracts to Elbit and Lockheed Martin for the SURGE-V program were announced today. The contracts are for the first of three parts of the program, which centers on developing renewable energy-driven hybrid propulsion for small UAVs. The Air Force Research Lab released a solicitation for SURGE-V last February.
Lockheed Martin may do work on the SURGE-V program at a location other than Eagan, Minn., because the company announced plans last November to close its Eagan facility by 2013. Elbit Systems of America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd. in Haifa, Israel.
Successive phases of the SURGE-V program will concentrate on demonstrating the integrated power system and payload on a SURGE-V UAV, as well as flight demonstrations of the integrated system. Total cost of the program will be about $2.2 million, Air Force officials say.
The SURGE-V UAV must be small enough to be carried and operated by only one person on battlefield situational awareness missions. The UAV should be capable of landing on rough terrain, operating in winds stronger than 35 knots in temperatures as cold as 30 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, and at altitudes as high as 25,000 feet in sandy, dusty conditions, as well as in fog, light rain and snow, and high humidity, Air Force officials say.