The current work focuses on mission-based evaluation of a novel engine architecture arising from the conversion of a microturbojet to a microturbofan via introduction of a variable speed fan and bypass nozzle. The solution significantly improves maximum thrust by 260%, reduces fuel consumption by as much as 60% through maintaining the core independently running at its optimum, and enables a wider operational range, all the meanwhile preserving a simple single spool configuration. Particularly, the introduction of a variable-speed fan enables real-time optimization for both high-speed cruise and low-speed loitering. In order to characterize the performance of the adaptive cycle engine with increased number of controls (engine speed, gear ratio, bypass opening), a component map-based thermodynamic study is used to contrast it against other similar propulsion systems with incrementally reduced input variables. In the following, a shortest path-based optimization is conducted over the locally minimum fuel consumption operating points, based on a set of gradient driven connectivity constraints for changes in gear ratio and bypass nozzle area. The resultant state transition graphs provide global optimum for fuel consumption at a thrust range in a given altitude and Mach flight envelope. Then, the engine model is coupled to a flight mechanics solver supplied with a conceptual design for a representative multipurpose unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Finally, the associated mission benefits are demonstrated in surveillance and firefighting scenarios.

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