AeroVironment is developing a new line of unmanned aerial systems (UASs) that will incorporate FlightWave’s Edge hybrid vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) system.
FlightWave’s technology will enable a UAS to operate as a VTOL and fixed-wing aircraft, Dave Sharpin, vice-president tactical UAS for AeroVironment, told Jane’s .
“It can fly with wings on and we will have a variant that flies with the wings off, so it can operate in two different main modes,” he said. “It is very flexible.”
The Edge’s VTOL technology enables the UAS to take-off and land without the need for ground equipment such as nets or catapults.
Sharpin noted AeroVironment has already begun work on its next generation of UAS and said he expects the company to conduct extensive testing in mid-2018.
FlightWave’s design can scale from small Group 1-sized UASs up to larger systems, he added. “We are going to have a number of variants off this design,” Sharpin said.
FlightWave is a commercial company, Sharpin added, and AeroVironment was looking to bring commercial technology into its UAS product line.
“They have their own Edge 130 platform, which is a commercial variant. We are doing it for the global defence market. They will continue to offer their commercial version,” he said.
The Edge UAS has a range of 100 km at 100 kph and an endurance of more than 120 minutes, powered by Lithium-ion batteries. The UAS weighs 1.2 kg and can carry a maximum payload of 300 g. It has a wingspan of 130 cm and a length of 80 cm, according to FlightWave Aerospace.
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