Archives de Tag: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeking proposals for a Humvee that can fly over insurgents, conduct night raids or whisk injured soldiers away from the battlefield. Textron, the defense company, says it has the solution—and they have the sketches to prove it.

Sure, the concept looks like a model car you might buy at Toys R’ Us, but the technology is sound, and the engineers think it could be ready to fly relatively soon, according to Steven Reid, vice president of unmanned aircraft systems at AAI, the Textron subsidiary that produced the Shadow UAV.
« Envision a Humvee-like vehicle with wings that fold out from the side and attach just above the rear door… » Reid says.

Textron’s plan is to integrate its work on military ground vehicles and unmanned aircraft like the Shadow, and combine it with licensed technology from its partnership with Carter Aviation Technologies, a small Texas-based outfit working on a personal air vehicle for the commercial market. Textron is incorporating Carter’s slowed compound rotor technology, which uses rotors that are similar to helicopter blades but heavily weighted in the tips. As the aircraft takes off, the rotor provides lift, but as the vehicle gains speed, the rotor slows down and the wings provide lift.
The vehicle would have a roof panel that contains wings that rotate and fold out from the sides, as well as a mast that comes up and houses the slowed rotor system. Coming out the back of the vehicle is a shrouded, ducted fan that provides forward motion, and then a series of control surfaces that help regulate speed, as well as pitch, roll and yaw.

To win funding for the project that DARPA formally calls Transformer, the company has to meet a challenging set of demands. The defense agency has asked companies and researchers to come up with a flyable vehicle that can carry up to four people, is capable of vertical takeoff and landing and can travel without having to refuel at ranges for 250 nautical miles (with a combination of driving and flying). While DARPA officials have talked about such a vehicle for avoiding roadside bombs, they are also considering it for a variety of missions, including « strike and raid, intervention, interdiction, insurgency and counterinsurgency, reconnaissance, medical evacuation and logistical supply. »

For veteran defense companies like Textron, the DARPA project did elicit some surprise. « I have to admit… » recalls Reid, « we scratched our heads and asked: Is this real? » But if the goal of DARPA’s Transformer project to hunt down innovative technologies that may lie resident at nontraditional defense companies, then Textron’s approach, which draws heavily on Carter Aviation, may pave the way.
Despite the far-out notion of a flying Humvee, Reid says the company’s engineers are intrigued by the idea of pushing the envelope on aircraft technology, and the concept fits well with ideas they already have about combining manned and unmanned aircraft, particularly helicopters. While Reid jokes about flying cars not being in Textron’s « five-year plan » he says the DARPA program is exciting because it allows the company to build off Carter Aviation’s technology, and perhaps incorporate that into the Shadow UAV.
« Quite frankly, our hopes are quite modest… » Reid says. « We don’t have visions of fleet sales of flying Humvees quite yet. »


The Dubai Airshow is the largest aerospace event in the Middle East and the fastest-growing airshow in the world.
The GeoEye-1 satellite, which tirelessly photographs the world at half-meter resolution from its constant orbit, swung by the Dubai Airport the other day and took this snap of the Dubai Airshow, in progress this week.
Click to enlarge & enjoy !

Taken from 423 miles in space by the GeoEye-1 satellite on Nov. 16, 2009 during the Dubai Airshow 2009.

The Fire Scout unmanned helicopter got its first job—hunting drug smugglers.

MQ-8B became the first unmanned helo to conduct actual operations on a navy ship. The UAV left on an anti-narcotics mission when from a port in Florida on Monday. The USS McInerney (FFG-8) is no stranger to the unmanned aerial vehicle because it hosted it during developmental testing. A crew of Northrop Grumman engineers are on board to help the aircraft stay healthy.

The operational tests will help the Navy field rotorcraft UAVs on its Littoral Combat Ship, which is still in development.

Ion TigerIon Tiger in flight. The 550-watt fuel cell is show in the box in the lower left corner.
(Credit: Naval Research Laboratory)

The Naval Research Laboratory’s (NRL’s) Ion Tiger, a hydrogen-powered fuel cell unmanned air vehicle (UAV), has flown 23 hours and 17 minutes, setting an unofficial flight endurance record for a fuel-cell powered flight. The test flight took place on October 9th through 10th at Aberdeen Proving Ground. The Ion Tiger fuel cell development system team is led by NRL and includes Protonex Technology Corporation, the University of Hawaii, and HyperComp Engineering. The program is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

The electric fuel cell propulsion system onboard the Ion Tiger has the low noise and signature of a battery-powered UAV, while taking advantage of hydrogen, a high-energy fuel. Fuel cells create an electrical current when they convert hydrogen and oxygen into water, with only water and heat as byproducts. The 550-Watt (0.75 horsepower) fuel cell onboard the Ion Tiger has about 4 times the efficiency of a comparable internal combustion engine and the system provides 7 times the energy in the equivalent weight of batteries. The Ion Tiger weighs approximately 37 pounds and carries a 4 to 5 pound payload.

Small UAVs are growing in importance for naval missions, as they provide capabilities ranging from surveillance collection to communication links. Electric UAVs have the additional feature of being nearly undetectable from the ground. Due to the high energy in the fuel cell system onboard the Ion Tiger, it is now possible to do long endurance missions with an electric UAV, thus allowing a larger cruise range and reducing the number of daily launches and landings. This provides more capability while saving time and effort for the crew.

In 2005, NRL backed initial research in fuel cell technologies for UAVs. Today, says NRL’s Karen Swider-Lyons, « the long endurance flight was made possible by the team’s research on high power, efficient fuel cell systems, lightweight hydrogen-gas storage tanks, improved thermal management, and the effective integration of these systems. »

Fuel cell technology is being developed to impact the operational spectrum of technologies including ground, air and undersea vehicles and man-portable power for Marine expeditionary missions. « The Ion Tiger successfully demonstrates ONR’s vision to show how efficient, clean technology can be used to improve the warfighter’s capabilities, » comments ONR’s Michele Anderson.

Peace Robot

The United Nations have enlisted Peace Robots to serve as an ad-hoc intervention squad on their behalf.
They are subject to the UN-Principles «neutrality » and « non-partisanship » in crisis areas. Non-lethal system & self-governed, this «cute» machines will be deployed in swarms…
Peace Robot Design

Design 2

 Designers : Jupin Ghanbari, Benjamin Cselley, Jelena Stoikovic & Dominik Premauer

The Fire Scout is arguably the smartest unmanned aerial vehicle ever built. Unlike remote-operated drones such as the Predator, this helicopter is a true robot, with enough computing power to take off, fly and land on its own. Last year a pair of test Scouts made history, landing on the deck of a moving ship without help from human pilots. Slated for use by the Army and Navy, the chopper is undergoing flight tests, but this on-schedule and on-budget UAV could be ready to gather intel and relay targeting data as early as 2008. While the Navy coyly describes it as « weapons-capable, » firing a barrage of rockets would call for human control — for now.

Autonomous Control:
The Fire Scout can fly unaided for more than 8 hours, then land on the ground or on a warship.
Modular Payload: The 23-ft.-long unmanned chopper can carry up to 600 pounds of equipment, such as sensors, mine detectors and rockets.
Proven Airframe: The UAV’s airframe is based on the Schweizer Model 333, a manned helicopter used by police agencies around the country.

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