Military Review

Less noise and fuel consumption: in the United States came up with a hybrid airliner for the Air Force


American inventors continue to experiment with new models of ultra-modern aircraft. One of these models recently introduced the US Air Force Research Laboratory.

To begin with, on January 6, 2020, the SciTech Forum and Exhibition of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Cosmonautics opened in Orlando, Florida. It presented a model of an experimental airliner, which the inventors call a conceptual vehicle with distributed movement.

Gas turbine design

The new design was appreciated by representatives of the US Air Force Command. They argue that the model could become the prototype of a new cargo aircraft with the possibility of short take-off. In addition, the ability to save fuel through gas turbines that produce energy for electric fans is of the utmost importance, according to the military.

Introduced by the Air Force Research Laboratory, the hybrid model is very similar to the design developed by Empirical Systems Aerospace, Inc. or ESAero. This company was founded in 2003 and for almost 20 years has been promoting aircraft concepts that use gas turbines mounted along the outer wing to power electric generators.

The basic concept of the new airliner, developed by ESAero, allows you to increase fuel efficiency, as well as reduce environmental pollution. Since 2016, the company has been developing an all-electric project for the X-57A Maxwell, which essentially repeats the design of the Tecnam P2006T.

The X-57A includes six small fans on each wing, two large electrically driven screws, one on each wing. Engineers believe that smaller fans will be able to provide sufficient lift during take-off, but will be turned off during flight, and only two large propellers will provide forward thrust.

How useful is the new concept of a hybrid aircraft to American aviation

The US Air Force Command is convinced that a new cargo aircraft with a longer flight range and high fuel economy will be a wonderful solution to improve the efficiency of air operations. First of all, it will reduce the cost of air transportation over long distances, which is especially important in the context of the US military conducting military operations around the world.

In addition, reducing the noise level will reduce the vulnerability of the new transport aircraft for enemy air defense, which also seems to be a very significant achievement for the US military.

The new design will be optimal for those areas in which there is no access to developed aerodrome infrastructure with good conditions for take-off and landing of aircraft. For example, we can talk about zones of warfare or remote areas with difficult geographical and climatic conditions.

We add that the modernization of the Air Force is currently considered by the US leadership as one of the highest priorities of the national arms policy, since it is the Air Force, together with the Naval forces, that provide the American state with the opportunity to act at very distant distances from its borders.

Photos used:
Courtesy guy norris

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  1. eagle owl
    eagle owl 10 January 2020 15: 04
    Yep, 6 propellers even in autorotation mode - NIKHRENA does not affect drag, that is, fuel consumption! So far, the idea looks on a par with Hyperloop and an open-air sledgehammer assembled by an exploded Starliner. Those. another "miracle vacuum cleaner"
    1. Vladimir_2U
      Vladimir_2U 10 January 2020 17: 25
      Quote: Uhu
      Yeah 6 propellers even in autorotation mode
      You confused the autorotation of the rotor with the feathering of the traction screw, and in this mode the resistance is minimal.
      1. eagle owl
        eagle owl 10 January 2020 21: 11
        I am terrestrial. Does this give resistance to the forehead?
        1. Vladimir_2U
          Vladimir_2U 10 January 2020 21: 14
          Of course, but minimal, because the blade rises to the stream edge.
      2. eagle owl
        eagle owl 10 January 2020 21: 47
        I - you know, I know something about the ground ... Not a flyer. And if possible - in more detail? Feeling - the difference is, what do you put in autorotation? The problem with the frontal and flow. Where am I wrong?
        1. ProkletyiPirat
          ProkletyiPirat 11 January 2020 02: 06
          Quote: "wikipedia"
          Screw screwing - rotation (during the flight of the aircraft) of the propeller blades of an adjustable pitch in such a position that prevents autorotation of the propeller,

          Quote: Uhu
          The problem with the frontal and flow. Where am I wrong?

          Fuel consumption is affected not only by drag but also by many other parameters; in some aircraft (and some flight routes), these parameters are the largest cause of fuel consumption.
          For example, for an aircraft with a rotor, for example, it is a helicopter, part of the fuel is spent on braking, it’s like for a car while driving, the front wheels rotate forward and the rear ones back and drive forward due to the fact that the front wheels rotate a little faster, and so the carrier propeller, the higher the horizontal speed and the larger the diameter of the propeller, the greater the percentage of fuel spent on braking.
          If you go back to airplanes, then there is an increased fuel consumption during takeoff / landing and a lot of fuel is burned into empty without bringing useful traction, this problem is proposed to be solved using a hybrid. The same problem is solved by installing not 2, but 4 engines on some aircraft (for example, short-haul transports), in such models, savings are achieved by limiting flight speeds and operating the SU at lower parameters where the efficiency is higher, as well as savings on engine life and therefore maintenance.
          ps In general, "not everything is so simple."
          1. eagle owl
            eagle owl 11 January 2020 03: 17
            Quote: ProkletyiPirat
            ps In general, "not everything is so simple."

        2. Vladimir_2U
          Vladimir_2U 11 January 2020 04: 39
          Well, Christmas trees, in the search engine hammer the feathering and autorotation, the difference will be immediately visible on the video. In words, autorotation (in other words, can be called parachuting, but this is not accurate) is the mode of rotation of the HELICOPTER rotor when the engine is off from the incoming air flow, in order to create the greatest resistance and ensure the rescue of the helicopter and crew. Feeling, on the contrary, is a turn of the traction screw blades (whether it is pulling or pushing) for the least resistance, while the screw almost does not rotate at all.
          1. ProkletyiPirat
            ProkletyiPirat 11 January 2020 09: 25
            Quote: Vladimir_2U
            autorotation ... in order to ... ensure the rescue of the helicopter and crew.

            This statement is very much exaggerated, especially in today's helicopters, HERE BEFORE in the era of piston (ICE) -SUs and at the very dawn of gas-turbine-SUs, when gearboxes often broke down and as a result, the thrust disappeared, but at the same time, the relationship between the main rotor and the stabilizing screw "the use of autorotation was. But today the mechanics are more reliable and there is no rigid connection, and all accidents lead to a spinning of the aircraft and an uncontrolled fall, and even with horizontal displacement, and as a result, rescue due to autorotation does not work. Someone may disagree with me, and for such people, I propose to search and throw here information about when, where and how autorotation helped in saving the aircraft and the crew in recent decades, for example I could not find such information.
            1. Vladimir_2U
              Vladimir_2U 11 January 2020 09: 53
              Quote: ProkletyiPirat
              This statement is very exaggerated, especially in today's helicopters

              However, this mode was applied.
              In general, autorotation, of course, is a useful phenomenon and, as an emergency mode has been repeatedly (and successfully! :-)) used by pilots, both airplanes and helicopters. The longest descent is known for autorotation of the French helicopter Aerospatiale SA.315B Lama, which was carried out by pilot Jean Boulet in 1972. During a record flight, it reached an altitude of 12440 meters, after which the helicopter engine stopped abnormally. Landing was carried out safely and gently.

              And more importantly, we analyze the difference between autorotation and feathering.
              Quote: ProkletyiPirat
              But today the mechanics are more reliable and there is no hard connection
              Really? On the Mi-8 or UH-60, too, there is no hard connection?
    2. Blackmokona
      Blackmokona 10 January 2020 17: 54
      Starliner didn’t explode and nobody collected it with a sledgehammer, winked
      1. zavyalov4leksandr
        zavyalov4leksandr 11 January 2020 01: 38
        Ugushenka is not interested, he is a hooray demagogue
  2. Amateur
    Amateur 10 January 2020 15: 04
    Another "perpetuum mobile". An additional stage of converting thermal energy into mechanical energy increases the efficiency of the system! what
    1. dvina71
      dvina71 10 January 2020 16: 06
      Quote: Amateur
      increases system efficiency!

      Lowers ..
      1. Amateur
        Amateur 10 January 2020 16: 53
        Of course lowers. Have you not caught sarcasm? There is a smiley head scratching.
  3. knn54
    knn54 10 January 2020 15: 23
    The aircraft receives energy from the LIABs installed inside, which occupy about 70% of the aircraft’s volume. They can be charged both from the network on the ground, and from solar panels in flight. Without recharging on a single charge, the aircraft can fly up to 160 km. The batteries also have a limit, so for long distances it is somehow doubtful ..
    That's when compact reactors come in. Then another conversation.
    The first passenger of DB Greta.
  4. Ham
    Ham 10 January 2020 15: 24
    futuristic ... but to reality, as usual, has not the slightest relation
  5. gridasov
    gridasov 10 January 2020 16: 30
    They continue to pour from empty to empty - large diameter, small. While the mind is not enough on technology for controlling the density of flows.
    1. NN52
      NN52 10 January 2020 17: 30
      Did you speak normal human language? However...
  6. eklmn
    eklmn 10 January 2020 17: 46
    For the curious:
    “Modified by the Tecnam P2006T, the X-57 will be an electric aircraft with 14 electric motors driving propellers mounted on the leading edges of the wing. All 14 electric motors will be used during take-off and landing, and only two external motors will be used during the cruise. The additional air flow above the wings, created by additional engines, creates greater lift, allowing you to narrow the wing. The plane accommodates two people. Its flight range will be 160 km, and the maximum flight time is about one hour. The designers of the X-57 hope to reduce by five times the energy needed for a light aircraft to fly at a speed of 282 km / h. A three-fold decrease should come from switching from piston engines to battery engines. Distributed thrust increases the number and size of aircraft engines. Electric motors are significantly smaller and lighter than jet engines of equivalent power. This allows them to be placed in different, more profitable places. In this case, the engines should be installed higher and distributed along the wings, and not suspended under them. Propellers mounted above the wing. They will increase airflow over the wing at lower speeds, increasing its lift. The increased lift allows it to work on shorter runways. Such a wing can make up only a third of the width of the replaced wing, which reduces weight and fuel costs. Typical wings of a light aircraft are relatively large to prevent stalling (which occurs at low flight speeds when the wing cannot provide sufficient lift). Large wings are ineffective at cruising speed because they create excess drag. The wings will be optimized for cruising, the motors protect it from low-speed stalls and reach the standard for small aircraft of 113 km / h.
    Now for the fun part:
    The speed of each propeller can be independently adjusted, offering the ability to change the airflow pattern in the wing to cope with flight conditions, such as gusts of wind. During a cruise flight, propellers closer to the fuselage can be folded back to further reduce drag, leaving them toward the tips of the wings to move the aircraft. Such aircraft will not have emissions in flight, will operate with less noise and reduce operating costs by about 30%. Cruising efficiency is expected to grow 3,5–5 times. ”
    1. gridasov
      gridasov 10 January 2020 20: 54
      Trying to convince yourself that returning to the small radius of the blades is more energy efficient. Wrong! We first built a turbine model with an outrageous speed at which modern turbines and propellers and any rotating rotors are destroyed. Naturally, with the appropriate radius and speed of rotation. Moreover, we focused on the fact that the air flow should not cause noise. The reasons are clear.
      1. eklmn
        eklmn 10 January 2020 21: 44
        I am not a specialist, NASA - yes.
        From the article:
        “Engineers believe that smaller fans will be able to provide sufficient lift during take-off, but will be turned off in flight and only two large propellers will provide forward thrust. ”
        1. gridasov
          gridasov 11 January 2020 11: 26
          Apparently it is worth recalling that airspace is an energetically active medium and is constantly changing its physical parameters. Therefore, you should not build illusions about flying in this environment. This is if you want the number of take-offs equal to the number of landings.
    2. Mihail2019
      Mihail2019 14 January 2020 20: 13
      "The additional air flow above the wings, created by additional engines, creates a large lift ..." - of course, no one has heard about the Coanda effect, as well as about the serial aircraft using it.
      "Electric motors are substantially smaller and lighter than equivalent jet engines." - yeah, if you take only the engine without a "body kit" and a source of energy .. Otherwise, it turns out that even a piston engine with a capacity of 1000 hp. together with fuel for 4 hours of flight (AN-2) is much lighter than any electric motor with a lithium-ion battery for the same flight time. I even doubt that he can lift such a "battery" into the air ..
      One sensible idea is differentiated control of lift on the wing due to separate blowing of different sections of the upper surface of the wing. But the resistance of such a "battery" of engines above the wing in cruise mode, it seems to me, will nullify all the advantages.
      In short, the engineering and technical level is the "Young Technician" magazine of the late 80s, the section where the boys send their ideas to the magazine. Although there were often even more sensible and implemented ideas.
  7. Aviator_
    Aviator_ 10 January 2020 20: 06
    Nonsense. AIAA is a solid office, and here, under its flag, the younger group of kindergarteners of the aircraft model circle appears.
    which use gas turbines mounted along the outer wing to power electric generators.

    And what will a gas turbine spin up?
    1. eklmn
      eklmn 10 January 2020 21: 53
      Good luck:
  8. MakStVik
    MakStVik 10 January 2020 20: 30
    If the Americans are talking about cutting costs, they get a very expensive plane.
  9. candidate
    candidate 14 January 2020 01: 47
    The transition to electric movement is a progressive, necessary step. However, a screw is a fan load for an electric motor. With a standard solution, due to the high levels of currents and losses, this entails a cooling problem with the requirement of small dimensions. The use of superconductors will solve the problem only partially, since energy efficiency, although it will increase, but not radically. But everything is started because of her, darling, because in general it determines the development of society, its friendly attitude to nature. The most radical solution is associated with a departure from the traditional approach to the electric propulsion system, but this requires a new generation of electric motors with their own technology. There are prerequisites for this - they are embedded in Maxwell's equations, however, in a different form of representation, expanded. To confirm or refute this, experimental research is needed, as the devil says in detail. So it's up to you to start.
  10. Mihail2019
    Mihail2019 14 January 2020 19: 12
    Even this whole canoe strongly resembles the "Eaglet" with the Caspian Monster from Rostislav Alekseev. Only with the use of modern technologies - nothing more ..