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Various aviation projects from South Africa

kaiserbill

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Aerotek is the aerospace division of the CSIR (Council for Industrial Research) of South Africa.
The Aerotek Hummingbird was designed as an all-composite observation plane, and flew in the early 1990's.

It was a 2 seater designed to take over some of the roles usually performed by helicopters, but do so far more economically. Powered by a Norton 90hp rotary engine, the Hummingbird had a length of 6,5m, a span of 11m, and empty weight of 340kg, and an all-up weight of 620kg.
Design cruise speed was 100kt, but it could loiter at 41kt with 10 degrees of flap for around 4 hours. Stall speed was 30kt.
Both take off and landing was accomplished within 100 meters.
As can be seen in the photo, the plane could be de-rigged quickly for trailering.

No buyers were found, and the aircraft, after languishing in the open at the CSIR for years, is now to be found in the South African Airforce Museum at AFB Swartkop.
 

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kaiserbill

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The APA gas turbine.

From the South African Airforce Museums page:

The APA was a South African designed and built gas turbine engine,
manufactured by Armscor under the project name Apartment. The project originated
in about 1977 with the purpose to design a small, light, expendable gas turbine
engine which could ultimately power long range target drones and RPV's. By the
time the project was terminated in the late 1980's, a number of prototypes had
been built, but the subsequent whereabouts of the engines were not known
for many years. Regrettably, Armscor/Denel never maintained a dedicated museum
where these items could be preserved or displayed. The Airforce Museum's engine,
known as APA-5, was donated through the valiant efforts of a Johannesburg
auctioneer acting on behalf of the deceased estate of the Strickler family. The
engine will be added to the collection of locally produced Armscor, Denel, and
CSIR technology on display inside 2 Hangar, Swartkop.
A couple of points. The comment within that quote regarding the cavalier treatment of anything built before the current government, as well as the lack of efforts at conservation before that, is why I'm doing these various threads, in an effort to tease out information on various projects.

Secondly, I recall somewhere in the distant past seeing another of these labelled as APA-1, unless I'm well into senility already.
If my memory is not playing cruel tricks, I assume this means at least 5 of this type of engine was made.
 

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kaiserbill

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This gas turbine engine was revealed in the early 1990's.

Apart from the announcement that it was developed for the military, and could also have potential civil applications, I have no further information on it, so any help would be appreciated.
It's clearly a much more sophisticated engine than the APA.

There are or were various South African target drones, RPV's, and stand-off weapons/cruise missiles that are, or were to be, powered by gas turbines. Programmes such as the Skua long range drone, MUPSOW, Torgos, and stealthy Flowchart/Seraph.
I wonder what these are, or were to be powered by?
 

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Apophenia

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Earlier CSIR built aircraft were the SARA (South African Rotor Association ) series of autogyros.

- SARA 1: modified Benson autogyro, ZS-UGD, glassfibre rotor blades, Feb 1972
- SARA 2: [??] w/o
- SARA 3: Enclosed cabin autogyro, ZS-UIT, metal rotor blades, 1977

Does anyone have access to Letecktvi i kosmonautika? There is supposed to be an article on the SARA 2 in L+K 4/76.
 

kaiserbill

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The Denel stealthy Flowchart 2 UAV was unveiled at Farnborough in 1994.
It was also to have a role as a "stealthy" strike weapon.
Some figures I have, which I cannot confirm independently for accuracy, was a length of just under 6 meters, a span of around 3,8 meters.

By 1995, it had morphed into the refined Seraph high-speed, mission adaptive UAV.


Seraph was to operate at speeds in excess of Mach 0,85 and heights of 12 000m.


Clearly, there must have been a Flowchart 1?
 

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kaiserbill

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Some CSIR developed airframes:

Early 1980's - Seeker UAV prototype
1988 - Delta wing UAS demonstrator.
1989 - Ovid/ACE turboprop military trainer prototype
1992 - Skyfly target drone prototype
1992 - Hummingbird 2-seater observation aircraft prototype
1993 - Keen Eye UAV
1994 - UAOS/Vulture prototype
2005 - Indiza mini hand-launches UAS
2007 - Sekwa unstable, tailless UAS
2008 - 4 meter span modular research UAS
 

Graugrun

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kaiserbill said:
Does anybody have any further info or pictures of the Aerotek 30mm externally driven cannon?
It could be electrically or hydraulically driven.

Never heard of it before, and have just seen this description on the saaf museum webpage.

http://www.saafmuseum.org/armament/257-aerotek-30mm
IIRC this was a development towards a new gun for Rooivalk, developed by CSIR Aerotek, it was not used obviously, however some of the associated tech could have ended up on the Rooivalk gun - see brochure below:
 

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kaiserbill

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Excellent Graugrun!

On reflection, it makes sense that it was developed for the Rooivalk, as the DEFA 30mm round was already used on the various Mirages, Cheetahs, and Impala 2 light attack jet.

Also, over the years, various publications have noted that a 20mm and 30mm was considered for the Rooivalk, and that the turret was designed with both in mind. This is the weapon they were most likely referring to then.
 

Graugrun

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kaiserbill said:
Also, over the years, various publications have noted that a 20mm and 30mm was considered for the Rooivalk, and that the turret was designed with both in mind. This is the weapon they were most likely referring to then.
They would/could also have been referring to this:
 

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kaiserbill

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Okay, so the XC-30 turret was designed for the DEFA, as an option for the Rooivalk, and the Aerotek 30mm cannon was developed as a possible replacement for the DEFA in this turret?

Nice brochure, btw. That's the first pic I've seen of a Rooivalk toting a 30mm cannon.
 

Graugrun

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I think you would be correct in your deduction - Here is another pic of Rooivalk toting the XC-30, 30mm cannon, below is a pic of it toting a 20mm (20x82mm) - this 20mm turret being the true forerunner of the 20X139mm IST turret it currently uses.
 

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kaiserbill

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Thanks Graugrun.
I wasn't aware that the 30mm had been flight tested on Rooivalk, let alone that the 20mmx82mm was also done, let alone considered.

Interesting in that the 20x139mm was eventually settled on instead of the 30x113mm as used in the DEFA.
I do know the 20x139mm has a much higher velocity (over 25%) over the DEFA, although the DEFA has a heavier shell.
PMP's website state they have the same penetration at a nominal 100m range.
 

Graugrun

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They told me that the 20X139mm was finally selected because of it's much better muzzle velocity (better penetration, better range, better accuracy, lower rate of fall of shot), in fact they told me that Trevor Ralston (early Rooivalk test pilot) was easily hitting individual 45 Gallon drums out at ranges of 1.2 km, in the hover and using the helmet mounted gun site (with the 20X139mm gun slaved to it).

Remember that the gun choice relates directly to the first and 2nd core design philosophies of Rooivalk :

1. Do not be seen.

2. If seen, do not get hit

It would be better to reach out and touch an enemy with a longer range 20mm gun, and potentially make it harder for him to get back at you (due to the range of his own guns - and because as you are further away, you present yourself as a smaller target to him), then to hit him with a slightly larger and more powerful 30mm - but then have to move in closer to hit him, and with decent accuracy (due to it's lower muzzle velocity).

The 30mm XC-30 gun you see was tested on the Rooivalk ADM, the 20X82mm on the XDM - IIRC.

Attached is a brochure of the prototype 20X139 hydraulic turret design, that was ultimately successful - Also note the CAD drawing and specs for the 20X82 - 20X102mm electrical gun turret, that you see being flown on the 2nd pic of Rooivalk I posted above.
 

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stimpy75

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do you know how many rounds of 30mm the roivalk would have been able to carry,i guess it´s less than the 700 rounds of 20mm rounds
 

Graugrun

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Hi stimpy75 - I would have to do some digging to see if I have the answer to your 30mm ammo question...

In the meantime herewith a brochure on the CSIR Hummingbird, as per the first post in this thread.
 

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Graugrun

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kaiserbill said:
Thanks Graugrun.
I wasn't aware that the 30mm had been flight tested on Rooivalk, let alone that the 20mmx82mm was also done, let alone considered.
I'm a bit surprised that you missed it - BTW there are many photos of Rooivalk development models flying with the 20 X 82mm cannon - here is a pic of it being test fired.
 

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kaiserbill

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I guess I didn't look closely enough through all these years... :-[
 

stimpy75

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Thx Graugrun in advance!!! :)
much appreciated!!
i wish the Rooivalk had won some export orders,esspecially the one in UK and Turkey.....
 

Graugrun

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Staying on the Rooivalk theme a little - here is a proposed (Naval) version that I don't often hear much mention of... - courtesy JDW 23 Sept 1998
 

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Graugrun

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Moving into a different direction just for the moment - See below brochures for the Bateleur MALE that was to be developed (and partners are being actively sought). I will post some pics of the full sized mock-up soon. This was revealed at DEXSA 2010 IIRC - since then more details of it being able to carry weapons has been revealed.
 

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Graugrun

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As promised above - some of the pics on Bateleur full sized mock-up, note it's size in terms of the people and various items like the Skua "target drone" in the background. The optional (fitted here) conformal belly module would be to house a SAR type radar. The Bateleur was revealed at DEXSA 2010 IIRC.
 

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Graugrun

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Anyone remember this one - the SkeHeye RPH - it was first unveiled at DEXSA '92 (this artical). I clearly remember them having a refined and updated version at DEXSA '94. I'm sure I took pics of the updated version...now just to find said pics. Article courtesy of Janes IDR 1/1993.
 

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Graugrun

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Herewith the official write-up on SkyHeye by the makers Aerosud, as well as a colour graphic of it - colour graphic is reproduced here with the kind permission of Pierre L. Victor (being the artist).

Has anyone got anything more on this - particularly the updated model?
 

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kaiserbill

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Don't know anything about the SKYHEYE unfortunately.
In fact, this is the first I've heard of it.
I wonder if it also originally had a naval application form smaller vessels, for recce or targetting roles perhaps?
A few more images of the Bataleur MALE UAV.
I'd read somewhere that a long range maritime reconnaissance role was perhaps envisaged at one stage.
 

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Abraham Gubler

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There is a bit in Wing Commander Petter-Boyer’s (Rhodesian Air Force) biography “Winds of Destruction” about how he worked with CSIR (South Africa) in the 1970s towards acquiring a low visual, audio signature scout aircraft. In 1975 Petter-Bowyer had conceived a powered glider type using wood skins on a composite frame but production in Rhodesia was rejected. He went to CSIR who showed him their auto-gyro which he thought would be ideal but it was not operationally ready. CSIR wanted to help so they looked at what was available overseas and PB identified a Canadian aircraft the Patchen Explorer. The SA Govt. purchased the only Patchen Explorer and later flew it to Rhodesia. It was assessed as being too noisy and too difficult to control but had real potential in the visual recce role. The Hummingbird would appear to the result of this requirement.

http://www.saafmuseum.org/research/research-articles/92-the-patchen-explorer
 

cluttonfred

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The Patchen Explorer was designed by well-known author and ex-Grumman designer David Thurston and was his attempt to popularize the pylon-mounted engine layout in landplanes for the great visibility and the safety of getting the prop away from the people in ground operations. It is essentially a landplane cousin to his Thurston Teal amphibian.

In his book DESIGN FOR SAFETY, Thurston argues that a well-designed cockpit can protect the occupants in a crash even with that engine layout and that experience with amphibians has shown that the engine will break away and fly safely over the cockpit in an extreme case. Not much came of it, but the pics of the helicopter-like view from the cockpit are stunning.

FYI, the one and only Patchen Explorer is back in the air. See http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/cee839804f2b9e298bf7eb3fdb56b4e8/Patchen-Explorer-flies-after-more-than-a-decade--20130407

Cheers,

Matthew
 

Graugrun

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I saw some info on this in the "Atlas Cava/Project Carver" thread, however I think this is the better place to post this - some more info on the 'advanced Combat Wing' - which was not ordered due to the very hefty (or unreasonable) price tag that Atlas/Denel Aviation where asking (according to people working there). Pity, it would have enhanced our Mirages/Cheetahs in a couple of different ways.
 

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kaiserbill

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Graugrun, your third pic of the Cheetah E in flight, isn't that the normal Cheetah E wing?

The Cheetah E had the dog tooth with extended outer leading edges as well as fences, and the Cheetah C just the dogtooth and extended outer leading edges.

The twin seater Cheetah D also had the fences ala the Cheetah E.

Here is another pic of the ACW.
 

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kaiserbill

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The above is showing the wingtip AAM station version.

There were 2 others tested.

The one was with the extended drooping leading edge along the entire front with fence (2nd pic in post above), and the other with a slot or notch, as can be seen in the majority of pics below.

It seems both versions were tested on single and double seaters.
The last pic of the different versions I cannot recall where I got from, and cannot vouch for its accuracy, but at a glance it looks good.
 

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Graugrun

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Kaiserbill you're right my third pic is simply of the Cheetah E - got mixed up and posted by accident, don't know how to delete it now though...

Below scan from a project 'Apartment' EXPENDABLE gas turbine development brochure (CSIR Aerotek), or 'APA gas turbine' as you mentioned earlier in this thread. It looks a little different to the previous ones, properly one of the versions along it's development line - there are some specs to go with. This would have powered MUPSOW, Torgos, Skua, Flowchart and Seraph. I believe that we dropped the project when the arms sanctions dropped, buying the already proven and readily available French Micro Turbo mini turbines instead.

The later turbine pictured in your 4th post in this thread is very interesting, perhaps this was the real propulsion unit for Flowchart and Seraph?
 

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kaiserbill

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Graugrun, nevermind about the Cheetah wing pic. It gives a nice baseline into what the original Cheetah wing (E and D models) looked like in comparison to the Mirage III wing and the ACW.

Thanks for the additional info on the Project Apartment engine.
As said earlier in the thread, this was started in the 1970's and terminated in the 1980's, as a technology and design excercise.
The second, more advanced engine I posted that you mention is indeed intriguing, and clearly was a result of lessons learnt in Apartment, and probably led to it's ending.

I would love to learn further details on it's true designation and performance figures.

Are we sure what engines are/were to be used in Skua, Torgos, Mupsow, etc?
 

JFC Fuller

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Given that Caver would have needed an engine, there must have been considerable work undertaken on gas turbines.
 

kaiserbill

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JFC Fuller said:
Given that Caver would have needed an engine, there must have been considerable work undertaken on gas turbines.
I've been trying to find out more.
As far as I know, Atlas held a licence to manufacture the Atar 9K50, but never announced more than the manufacture of parts, including "hot stream parts".
And of course, the RR Viper was manufactured locally.
Aviation gas turbine parts, including blades, were manufactured it seems, as well as other parts such as gearboxes etc.
Air Report 94 mentions that as part of the previous helicopter industrialisation programme, that amongst many other parts being manufactured for the Puma were gearbox components, and hot parts of the engine, including turbine blades.

In fact, Atlas (or Denel) manufactured accessory gearboxes for the RR RB211-535 when sanctions were dropped at the time.

A welded combustion chamber, more efficient and lighter than the original rivetted one, was built.
The Atar Plus had SA participation in it.
One of the airforce project managers for the Carver mentions the problematic engine aspect for that programme, and mentions that even a " more powerful Atar 9K50 development with 10% more thrust was not seen as a proper solution". This of course infers that work toward that was done, at least in my eyes. They were not overly happy with this route, as they felt that the New Generation Combat Aircraft (Carver) needed a modern generation engine, or a proper fighter turbofan. This seems in turn to have led to discreet enquiries to various interested parties...

Looking at the Indian LCA example, one suspects that any possible indigineous engine would have been way out of synch wrt when the Carver would be fielded. I suspect an overseas purchase, or at a push a co-development with another country would have been the way forward. This last point had been practiced between Israel and South Africa, and to a lesser extent Taiwan, on more than a few projects.
Time has also shown that many European countries, east and west, were quite happy to be involved if the price was right and discretion excercised.

Piecing together the pieces is problematic with the lack of info in the public domain.

What I suspect happened was that work toward gas turbine engines went forward unabated, but when opportunities presented themselves to buy whole units under the counter, such as the Makila (Oryx and Rooivalk) and additional and different models of the Atar 9K50 (For the Cheetah C) then those were taken with both hands as being quicker and probably a lot cheaper.

But that is me speculating.
 

Graugrun

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I'm sure you are not far off in your assessment Kaiserbill...

I believe that although we held the license, we ended up never completely manufacturing the Atar 9K50, just various components of it and other engines(maybe someone can correct me on this). One of the components that we later manufactured was 'single crystal' turbine blades, this were higher quality than the normal ones, thus could operate at higher temperatures and had higher tolerance to failure. Therefore turbine engines equipped with single crystal blades could be saftley pushed harder and provide more power as such (AFAIK that's where most of the extra 10% in performance came from the Atar-Plus). See the Telcast brochure below for some of the components they cast (Telcast was later partly bought by Turbomeca France, becoming Turbomeca Africa).

Various developments on turbine engines and other engine types continued - see the attachment from CSIR on turbo-shaft engine development below as one example.

We usually ran two projects in terms of new developments - one high tech and risky, one low tech and safe. Thus we were assured of the end-goal, just it might not always have been as capable as we wished, that is if the high tech project failed.

A good example of this would be project Tunney (Cheetah fighter) and project Carver (New generation fighter), so I am sure that opposite the Atar improvements was a high end project for something totally new. I do believe we were capable of getting a new turbine engine developed and built (even if we leaned on some "friends" for some critical input). However the time, cost and energy was just not worth it in terms of the rapidly diminishing threat (end of our war with the Russians/Cubans/ East Germans/FAPLA/Rumanian/Bulgarian/North Korean/Yugoslav/Polish and SWAPO troops in Angola), and the soon to end arms embargo etc, etc.

We did indeed manufacture accessory gearbox's for the RR RB211-535 as a risk share deal (with repeat orders), we also did similar work for General Electric and others.

In terms of Atar-Plus (taken mostly from AirReport '96), In June 1995 Simera (a div of Atlas/Denel Aviation) entered into a joint venture with France's Snecma to upgrade the Atar 09K50 and 08K50 engines - the main aims of the project were:

1. Improve engine acceleration characteristics
2. Increase scheduled service intervals from 300 to 400 flying hours
3. Extend time between overhauls from 1000 hours to 1200 hours

Simera/Atlas/Denel where responsible for designing a new nozzle guide vane and also developed a new afterburner control box to improve engine acceleration time (time from idle to full afterburner was reduced by 5 seconds).

Snecma also appointed ITP of Spain to re-design the Outlet Guide Vane.

The above was to be ready by 1998 - BTW the French must have had a fair degree of confidence in us for the above to happen.
 

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