Frazer-Nash and Windhorse Aerospace to build glider to deliver aid
Frazer-Nash Consultancy has partnered with unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufacturer Windhorse Aerospace to collaborate in developing a glider to deliver humanitarian aid to remote or war-torn locations.
To be made from a variety of materials, including foodwaste, the new Pouncer UAV will supply vital survival provisions to people in caught in conflicts or disaster-hit areas.
Under the initiative, around 60 UAV gliders will be deployed from a transport aircraft to fly approximately 3t of essential supplies to specific destinations.
Featuring a 3m wingspan and able to carry 25kg in weight, each glider will be able to release supplies from a maximum height of 25,000ft.
Frazer-Nash Consultancy aerospace senior business manager Martin Soltau said: “As Windhorse Aerospace’s engineering partner, we are applying our expertise to help deliver its vision, ensuring that Pouncer is a technically, operationally and commercially viable proposition.
“Integrating the food payload into a compact airframe, achieving a good stand-off range and keeping the manufacturing costs low, are some of the design challenges that we have addressed for the air vehicle.
"We’ve also designed the delivery system concept that will deploy the gliders safely from a transport aircraft, and we are engaging with the airworthiness regulator to work towards certification of the system.
"This is a challenging but exciting project, and we’re working very much in partnership with Windhorse Aerospace, combining our experience and skills in systems and aero-structures, aerodynamics and human factors, with its expertise in humanitarian aid in extreme environments and nutrition."
For the project, Windhorse Aerospace is planning to develop a prototype of the Pouncer UAV to understand its handling and performance.
Subject to regulatory approvals and funding availability, the UAV is expected to be put into full production within the next 12 months.
Image: Pouncer UAV concept. Photo: courtesy of Frazer-Nash Consultancy.