UEC experts will produce an entire family of engines based on the new technology
The Lyulka Design Bureau, which is a subsidiary of Saturn of the United Engine Corporation, has developed, manufactured and tested a prototype of a resonator pulsed detonation engine with two-stage combustion of a kerosene-air mixture.
The average measured engine thrust was about 100 kg, and it was able to operate continuously for more than 10 minutes. UEC plans to manufacture and test a full-size pulsed detonation engine by the end of 2013.
According to Aleksandr Tarasov, Chief Designer of the Lyulka Design Bureau, the testing simulated operating conditions that are typical for turbojet and ramjet engines. Measured values of thrust and specific fuel consumption were 30–50 percent better than conventional jet engines. The new engine as well as traction control were turned on and off multiple times during testing.
The Lyulka Design Bureau intends to produce an entire family of pulse detonation aircraft engines based on data obtained during these tests and on a circuit design analysis. In particular, it intends to create engines with a short service life for unmanned aircraft and missiles as well as aircraft engines that can achieve supersonic cruising speeds.
In the future, engines are intended to be created for space-rocket systems and combined propulsion aircraft that are able to fly in both the atmosphere and space.
According to the design bureau, the new engines will increase thrust-to-weight ration by a factor of 1.5–2 times. In addition, the use of such powerplants can increase the range or weight of air-launched weapons by 30–50%. At the same time, the specific weight of the new engines will be 1.5–2 times less than that of conventional jet propulsion engines.
It was reported in March 2011 that Russia was working to create a pulse detonation engine. Ilya Fedorov, Managing Director of Research and Production at Saturn, reported this development at the time. The Lyulka Design Bureau is a subsidiary of Saturn. Fedorov did not specify what exact type of detonation engine was being developed.
Currently there are three types of pulsejet engines: valved, valveless and pulse detonation. These types of powerplants work by periodically supplying fuel and an oxidizing agent into the combustion chamber where the fuel mixture is ignited and the combustion gases rush out of the nozzle to form jet thrust. The difference between pulsejet and conventional jet engines is in the ignition of the fuel mixture, where the combustion wave moves faster than the speed of sound.
The Swedish engineer Martin Wiberg invented the first pulsejet engine in the late nineteenth century. A pulsejet engine is easy and cheap to manufacture, but due to how the fuel is ignited it is not dependable. The new type of engine was used in mass production for the first time on the German V-1 flying bomb during World War II. These weapons were equipped with the Argus As-014 pulsejet engine, which was made by Argus-Werken.
Currently, several major defense contractors in the world are engaged in research in the field of high-performance pulsejet engines. In particular, France-based SNECMA and American-based GeneralElectric and Pratt & Whitney are working on the technology. In 2012, the Research Laboratory of the U.S. Navy announced its intention to develop a rotating detonation engine, which will replace conventional gas turbine propulsion on ships.
Rotating detonation differs from pulse detonation in that the fuel mixture inside the chamber is continuously being detonated ─ the combustion wave moves through the annular cylinder in which fuel mixture is continuously being added.