The FirePoint Innovations Center at Wichita State University selected Oklahoma State University’s Pistol Pete’s Propulsion Posse team from the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology as one of six teams to receive $10k to build out their proof of concepts for the next phase in the C3 Challenge.
FirePoint started the C3 (Converge, Collaborate and Create) Challenge last September, inviting university students from around the U.S. to submit their designs for the Army’s future unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) intended for next-generation combat and defense.
Sponsored by the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation and Missile Center (CCDC AvMC), FirePoint C3 Challenge is supported by Dassault Systems and America Makes.
As part of the C3 Challenge, the teams will get an opportunity to work with Army Futures Command and aerospace companies to build working UAV prototypes.
The Pistol Pete’s Propulsion Posse team consists of students from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) including Ross Brumley, Johnathan Burgess, Andrew Cobb, Joshua Johnson, Max Lewis, Abdalrahman Mansy, Gustavo Ravello, Cole Replogle, Cooper Tiderman and Malorie Travis. The team’s project advisor is MAE’s assistant professor Kurt Rouser.
Prior to being selected, each team had to submit a statement of work for their project. The Pistol Pete’s Propulsion Posse is working to further develop the concept of turboelectric propulsion and power to accommodate different UAV platforms.
Turboelectric systems are a type of hybrid electric propulsion and power, which harnesses the high power density of batteries and the high energy density of hydrocarbon fuels simultaneously, enabling not only added capabilities for distributed propulsion and power, but also increased range and endurance.
Small scale UAVs have limited range and endurance due to battery technology, however this system’s benefit is also applicable as system scale increases. Their idea is to power small UAV (<55lb) platforms in demonstration flight tests, which will show the versatility and scalability of the system.
Additionally, electrical systems and subsystems will be designed and developed to address integration/vehicle level considerations.
In March, four teams will be selected to advance to the final phases of the competition.
These teams will begin physical manufacturing of their prototype using the methods they outlined in their statement of work. FirePoint will award successful teams up to an additional $25k per team to continue fabrication of their prototypes. They will also start collaborating remotely on their designs and integration using Dassault Systems 3D design and modelling platform.
Finally, in February 2021, teams will submit Final Reports to accompany their presentation during the Functional Demonstration where they will present to the Department of Defense and other industry experts their experience and progress over the past 18 months.
“I’m very pleased to see this team realize this technology advancement as a fully-integrated system, drawing on multiple engineering disciplines in a highly cooperative way,” said Rouser. “Expect even bigger strides moving forward as the students further develop knowledge and skills in this area.”
FirePoint and CCDC AvMC aims to increase efficiency and quality of their end products. This competition looks to expose the bright minds of tomorrow to these concepts early in their careers, so that they can assist in developing the next generation workforce.
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