At a glance

The DELAER UAS project is set to reach a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 6. The project initiated in 2018, and its consortium is made up of Greek academic institutes and industries. It has a three-year duration and the flight tests of the prototype, marked as RX-3, are scheduled for 2021.

The consortium

The Laboratory of Fluid Mechanics and Turbomachinery (LFMT) and the UAV integrated Research Center (UAV-iRC), at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), at Greece, are responsible for the aerodynamic design, ground and flight testing of the RX-3 and for coordinating the DELAER project. Intracom Defense is responsible for the electronics and integration, whereas CFT manufactures the prototype out of composite materials and metal alloys.

Innovation

The RX-3 configuration is based on the Blended-Wing-Body (BWB) layout, which offers a considerable increase in aerodynamic efficiency and performance specifications enhancement, compared to conventional layouts. Moreover, the BWB has a unique combination of large available internal volume and low wetted area to volume ratio, which is ideal for the cargo delivery-related mission of the DELAER RX-3.

01

LFMT, AUTH

Project coordinator, UAV design & performance, aerodynamics & stability, structural analysis, manufacturing drawings, ground & flight testing

02

IDE

Electronics & avionics, Ground control station, Equipment integration, Electronics testing

03

CFT

Prototype manufacturing

The goal

The main goal of the DELAER research project is the design, development, manufacturing and flight testing of a prototype Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System (UAS), which will provide direct support to Greek isolated territories and islands, via aerial delivery of lifesaving supplies and dedicated equipment. The system will be based on a large-scale, autonomous, fixed-wing, novel Blended Wing Body (BWB) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) configuration, as well as a portable ground control station (GCS).

The mission

The DELAER RX-3 mission involves cruising to the point of interest for up to 65km, payload delivery, and cruising back to the base of operations.

The payload

RX-3 payload has been selected to support a wide range of humanitarian missions (life rafts, medical equipment, provisions etc.).

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UAV Design

The DELAER RX-3 design was based on well-established aircraft design textbooks and methodologies. In-house sizing tools and routines were used to facilitate the layout, aerodynamics, and stability calculations. These tools were adjusted to the needs of UAVs and tuned to incorporate the unique characteristics of the novel BWB platform. They have also been validated through the design of the HCUAV RX-1, the first large-scale Hellenic Civil UAV for surveillance missions, which has successfully undergone several flight tests.

Computational analyses

The layout design and sizing procedure is in compliance with FAA pt. 23 regulations and supported by high-fidelity aerodynamic analysis (CFD) and structural analysis (FEM) tools. The geometry used for the analyses was generated using existing parametric 3D CAD tools, which allow changes at the aerial vehicle configuration to be executed swiftly and accurately during design. The results were imported in a dedicated flight simulator software, for the evaluation of the key performance, aerodynamic and stability specifications of the RX-3.

  • Aerodynamic design

Out in the testing field: More than just design engineers

Aerodynamic design

The DELAER RX-3 design was based on well-established aircraft design textbooks and methodologies. In-house sizing tools and routines were used to facilitate the layout, aerodynamics, and stability calculations. These tools were adjusted to the needs of UAVs and tuned to incorporate the unique characteristics of the novel BWB platform. They have also been validated through the design of the HCUAV RX-1, the first large-scale Hellenic Civil UAV for surveillance missions, which has successfully undergone several flight tests.

Computational analyses

The layout design and sizing procedure is in compliance with FAA pt. 23 regulations and supported by high-fidelity aerodynamic analysis (CFD) and structural analysis (FEM) tools. The geometry used for the analyses was generated using existing parametric 3D CAD tools, which allow changes at the aerial vehicle configuration to be executed swiftly and accurately during design. The results were imported in a dedicated flight simulator software, for the evaluation of the key performance, aerodynamic and stability specifications of the RX-3.

Electronics

Both the RX-3 and the GCS will be equipped with state-of-the-art electronics and telecommunication systems, which will be developed in order to satisfy the operational requirements and will be capable of operating under adverse weather and environmental conditions. The aerial vehicle will communicate with the GCS through encrypted radiocommunications. A data gathering and management software will support the operations of the DELAER RX-3 system.

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