LaunchPoint Technologies was recently selected for the award of a DoD-Army Phase II SBIR: "Electric Machines and Hybrid Drives for Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) Tactical Air Vehicles"
A hybrid electric vehicle architecture can use the low-weight, high-power advantage of electric motors in conjunction with the high specific energy of liquid fuel to create a VTOL aircraft capable of long missions. A transitioning vehicle is an ideal architecture for hybrid propulsion technology due to the large difference in power for hover and cruise. In this system, the battery power would augment the liquid fuel for hover and then switch to exclusively liquid fuel during cruise. Transitioning vehicles that rely on conventional liquid fuel architectures are very complex and suffer from the limited specific power of liquid fuel engines and high hover power requirements; hybrid technology can enable simple architectures for transitioning vehicles and take advantage of high specific power electric motors. High-reliability hybrid-electric transitioning vehicles could replace many of the Army’s large UAVs that currently need a catapult system, or a runway for takeoff. A highly reliable hybrid propulsion system is the key ingredient for these types of VTOL UAVs. In this phase I, LaunchPoint Technologies plans to further develop a hybrid propulsion system in the 80 kW range for VTOL systems with an innovative fault detection and response module.
Link to Army SBIR Announcement Website