Development of a Turbo Electric Distribution System for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems

Mithun Eqbal, Nuwantha Fernando, Matthew Marino, Graham Wild


Turboelectric distributed propulsion systems are paving the way for more electric aircraft systems (TeDP). This type of system provides a solution for some of the drawbacks of current low-energy-density batteries, which limit the ability of long-endurance electric aircraft. However, turboelectric propulsion requires the use of advanced turboelectric motors, superconductive materials and cryogenic cooling technologies, which are still under development and may be in production in the near future. This paper investigates a turboelectric propulsion system that can be considered an initial step in the production of TeDP in a remotely piloted aircraft system with the use of existing technology. This is achieved by replacing the gear and the starter motor of a turboprop with a high-speed permanent magnet electric machine to generate electrical power and propelling the aircraft through a distributed electric propulsion system. In this theoretical study, an augmentation to Breguet’s range and endurance equation is developed. This study confirmed that the new system is 31% lighter than the turboprop engine. Then the effect of the weight savings is used in the distributed electric propulsion (DEP) aerodynamic studies and found that there is a drastic increase in the range for a TeDP developed with the high-speed machine.


Turboprop gear system; Distributed propulsion systems; High-speed machines

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