Northwest UAV Completes Performance and Altitude Testing for Heavy Fuel Engine

Northwest UAV (NWUAV) recently completed comprehensive altitude testing for its NW-230 Heavy Fuel engine, marking a milestone in the company’s ongoing engine evaluation initiatives. The testing, conducted within NWUAV’s altitude dyno test chamber, unveiled preliminary insights that indicate adjustments to the fueling map were necessary as the engine ascended to 36,000 feet Density Altitude (DA).

Chris Harris, the CEO and owner of NWUAV, acknowledged the anticipated need for adjustments due to altitude and temperature changes during the testing process. Harris highlighted the engine’s notable performance at 36,000 feet DA, emphasizing its ascent to levels comparable to those regularly navigated by Boeing 737s. A significant observation was the consistent fuel-air charge between cylinders throughout the ascent, a noteworthy achievement for a normally aspirated 2-stroke boxer engine operating on heavy fuel.

In a statement, Harris remarked, “We are currently in the early stages of evaluating the engine’s performance and capabilities.” He underscored the necessity for additional analysis to determine the engine’s reliability for future tactical unmanned aircraft requirements.

Harris reiterated the company’s commitment to showcasing product capabilities as they progress through the product roadmap. This spans the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) spectrum from TRL 7 to total rate production and manufacturing readiness, with the NW-230 being the latest release in NWUAV’s lineup of propulsion solutions.

The NW-230, an EAR 99 export-approved Heavy-Fuel UAV Engine, is now subject to scrutiny for its capabilities across various applications and mission profiles, ranging from sea level to high altitudes. While initial findings show promise, NWUAV emphasizes the ongoing need for in-depth analysis to confirm the engine’s reliability, addressing the evolving requirements of tactical unmanned aircraft missions. The company remains dedicated to providing updates as the evaluation progresses, highlighting their commitment to transparency and innovation in the drone industry.