The Wankel engine is gaining a sad notoriety in the current Ukraine-Russia conflict.
One of the positive features of the engine is its small size with high performance. Therefore, the engine is popular for operating unmanned drones. This is also the case with the Iranian drone "Shahed-131", the smaller variant of the "Shahed-136". The "Serat 1" Wankel engine is used. This is a copy of the "MDR-208" from the Chinese company Beijing Micropilot Uav Control System Ltd. This in turn is a replica of the "AR 741" Wankel engine from the British company UAV Engines Ltd.
All three variants share the same specifications:
One rotary piston, 208 cc displacement, 38 hp, gasoline fuel and about 10 kg weight.
This powers a propeller that can provide the drone with a range of up to 900 km.
Unfortunately, many components, including the engine, are available on the open market, so the total cost of a drone is estimated at only $20,000-30,000.
We suspect that the production costs for the "Serat-1" motor variant would be massively reduced by not using special coatings and materials. Only through these would the motor achieve a long shelf life. However, long durability is obviously not necessary for the Kamikaze drone. In the end, we are left with a simple engine design, with relatively few individual components, requiring only aluminum and steel.
We hope that the war, in the Ukrainian sense, will soon be over. And that the Wankel engine will find even more application in civil and sustainable areas.