Russian corporation is developing an L-shape wing turbojet UAV

An innovative jet drone, boasting high maneuverability, has been patented by the Scientific and Production Union of Mechanical Engineering, a division of the Russian Military-Industrial Corporation. This information is from a TASS agency report dated April 28, 2024, which cited the corporation’s newly issued patent. 

Russian corporation is developing an L-shape wing turbojet UAV
Photo credit: NPO Mashinostroene archive

The invention relates to the world of aviation, specifically to unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs] of the aircraft type. These UAVs are constructed following an integrated arrangement based on the canard balance scheme. With top-flight speed and agility, these drones easily distinguish themselves from their counterparts. The patent abstract points out that “the technical innovation stated below aims to enhance the flight attributes of UAVs compared to their contemporaries.”

The UAV boasts a cargo compartment located in its central fuselage. Prime features include a uniquely designed wing, a fully movable front equipped with a boom bracket, and a V-shaped vertical tail adorned with trapezoid fins. 

Turbojet engine

Thanks to its unique wing shape, this drone exhibits enhanced aerodynamic characteristics during flight, especially at steeper angles of attack, and it can also effectively counter wave drag. To further enhance the aerodynamic qualities along with take-off and landing performances, the wing is fitted with cutting-edge mechanisms at its leading and trailing edges.

The turbojet engine, which acts as the power plant, is placed uniquely with its air intake positioned under the fuselage. The drone incorporates an integral layout design that uses a canard rudder scheme to achieve faster speed and improved maneuverability. This approach also increases the drone’s lift-to-drag ratio and the maximum lift coefficient. 

Experts anticipate that, fitted with the appropriate equipment in the cargo bay, this state-of-the-art drone could be utilized for both reconnaissance and attack missions. 

L-shape wing

The L-shaped wings on the drone, also referred to as L-wings, significantly impact the aerodynamic performance of the wing, particularly during high-angle attack flights. The L-wing design is distinguished by a primary wing surface extending outward from the fuselage, then bending or ‘sweeping’ backward into an L shape. This design proves especially effective in enabling high-speed flight and maneuverability.

The L-wing design improves the aerodynamic performance by delaying the onset of flow separation. Flow separation occurs when the air flowing over the wing surface starts to detach, leading to a loss of lift and an increase in drag. When a drone is flying at high angles of attack, the risk of flow separation increases. However, the swept-back portion of the L-wing design helps to delay this separation, allowing the drone to maintain lift and control even at high angles of attack. 

Reducing wave drag

Another advantage of the L-wing design is its ability to reduce wave drag. Wave drag is a form of drag that occurs at high speeds, especially near or beyond the speed of sound. It is caused by the formation of shock waves in the air around the aircraft. The L-wing design helps to mitigate this by distributing the shock waves along the length of the wing, reducing their overall impact. 

In addition, the L-wing design aids in managing the center of pressure. The center of pressure is the point where the total sum of a pressure field acts on a body, causing a force to act through that point. In the case of an L-wing, the center of pressure moves less as the angle of attack changes, providing more stable and predictable handling. 

Overall, the L-wing design on a drone offers significant aerodynamic benefits, particularly when flying at high angles of attack. It helps to delay flow separation, reduce wave drag, and manage the center of pressure, all of which contribute to improved flight performance and control.

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