I am currently working on my thesis, that revolves around the design of a tube launched UAV. I have been researching literature for a while now, and have fixed my interest to build a flying wing prototype that could fold its wings to fit into the tube (3ft long, 5 inch dia).
Still an amateur at RC building, any valuable insight / sources / references , would be great.
I don't think there are any hobbyists who have built a tube launchable plane. If you google "tube launch uav" you can find a bunch of commercial designs. I think most use a spring mechanism that holds the flying surfaces against the fusealage. An exception is Maveric - the elastic wings are wrapped around the fuse --> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prioria_Robotics_Maveric
For some reason many/most/maybe all of the tube launchable planes seem to have a tail. Maybe the authority of the tail is needed during the launch to cruise transition.
I you should first figure out a fairly robust mechanism for deploying the wings.
Thanks for the reply. Yep, I have covered pretty much everything I could get my hands on during the lit review.
I have done aerodynamic analysis, to get my airfoils, sweep, washouts etc. Thats all sorted.
I have been researching heaps of locking mechanisms, out of which torsion springs seem quite favourable. The search is on though.
Could you post a drawing or an image of the 3D model of the airframe?
Take a look at the Raytheon Cayote UAV. You'll find many pictures online to get ideas. I'm not saying it's a good design, but it's one of the few tube-launched UAVs that have pictures online available for the public.