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Fly weight actuators from Muirhead Aerospace pack a punch aboard high altitude, long endurance aircraft

Muirhead Aerospace has been chosen by QinetiQ Group Plc to develop a lightweight miniature actuator that weighs less than 100 grams but has the power to move the flight control surfaces aboard QinetiQ's Zephyr high altitude, long endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicle.

The Zephyr ultra-lightweight unmanned aircraft has a wing span of 18 meters and weighs only 30kg but is intended to soar at altitudes well in excess of modern commercial jets for extended periods up to several months. Developed primarily for reconnaissance, the Zephyr utilizes a structure constructed of carbon fibers and is powered by solar energy generated by amorphous silicon arrays that cover its wings.

The UAV will be used primarily in a reconnaissance role. During day light, silicon arrays convert solar power into electrical power. The generated electrical power is used to fly the aircraft with the excess stored in the rechargeable lithium batteries for night time usage.

Muirhead was selected to develop an extremely lightweight, highly reliable actuator because of its long-standing experience with the design and manufacture of aerospace sensor motors and actuators.  Muirhead's solution is to provide an assembly capable of operating at very low temperatures and pressures at these altitudes with minimal energy requirements.  Capable of exerting a force of up to 30N, the Muirhead actuator is intended to control Zephyr's elevators and rudder and with its reduced weight should contribute to extending the aircraft's flight time.

Press release issued by Muirhead Aerospace on November 3, 2009

 

 Contact details from our directory:
Airframer
Muirhead Aerospace Tachometers, Electric Motors, Alternators, Synchro Resolvers, Electromechanical Actuators

 

 Related aircraft programs:
Qinetiq Zephyr

 

 Related directory sectors:
Actuation

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