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Modeling and simulation enabled UAV electrical power system design

Fletcher, Steven and Norman, Patrick and Galloway, Stuart and Rakhra, Puran and Burt, Graeme and Lowe, V. (2011) Modeling and simulation enabled UAV electrical power system design. SAE International Journal of Aerospace. ISSN 1946-3855

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Abstract

With the diversity of mission capability and the associated requirement for more advanced technologies, designing modern unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems is an especially challenging task. In particular, the increasing reliance on the electrical power system for delivering key aircraft functions, both electrical and mechanical, requires that a systems-approach be employed in their development. A key factor in this process is the use of modeling and simulation to inform upon critical design choices made. However, effective systems-level simulation of complex UAV power systems presents many challenges, which must be addressed to maximize the value of such methods. This paper presents the initial stages of a power system design process for a medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV focusing particularly on the development of three full candidate architecture models and associated technologies. The unique challenges faced in developing such a suite of models and their ultimate role in the design process is explored, with case studies presented to reinforce key points. The role of the developed models in supporting the design process is then discussed.