Battlefield supply from above [CAN2015D2]

28 May 2015

Based in Ottawa, MMIST specialises in precision aerial delivery systems. Here at CANSEC, the company is showcasing its latest development, the CQ-10B SnowGoose Bravo UAV, which employs autogyro technology to provide good payload/range characteristics with a near-vertical take-off capability. The CQ-10B flew for the first time about four weeks ago.

Since 2003, MMIST (Booth 801) has supplied the parachute-based Sherpa GPS-guided aerial delivery system. The company has also been working on a more advanced powered delivery system, known as the SnowGoose. This comprises a main body that incorporates a piston engine for propulsion, and three racks for payload bins or fuel tanks. Three separate wing kits have been developed for it.

In its initial CQ-10A ‘Alpha’ form, the SnowGoose employs two types of parafoil wing kit.

One kit supports the launch of the SnowGoose from a ground vehicle such as a HMMWV or trailer, while the other allows for air-drop delivery from a C-130 or C-17 transport aircraft. In its parafoil-borne form, the SnowGoose carries up to 260kg of payload at a speed of around 30kts.

For the new CQ-10B ‘Bravo’, MMIST has developed a hybrid autogyro kit that raises payload to around 320kg, and speed to an impressive 100kts. With the racks containing fuel tanks the UAV can stay aloft for 18 hours, giving it a useful capability as a sensor platform for surveillance duties.

Of equal importance, the hybrid autogyro kit frees the air vehicle from the need for a launch platform. A traditional autogyro requires a short take-off run propelled by the pusher engine in order to spin up the main rotor to provide take-off lift. MMIST’s hybrid concept employs an electric motor in the rotor head to spin the main blades up to 400rpm, allowing the SnowGoose to be ‘jumped’ into the air before the forward propulsion from the Rotax engine takes effect.

SnowGoose is intended primarily to operate autonomously according to pre-programmed waypoint/drop-off co-ordinates and flight profiles. However, it is also fitted with three line-of-sight and two beyond-LOS data-links that allow it to be retasked in flight, or to be manually controlled for landing.

On landing, the engine is cut so that it can be approached safely by troops on the ground. The vehicle is equipped with a master arm and a touchscreen interface at the front that displays instructions to ground forces.

With the master arm set to ‘off’ they can quickly follow the loading or unloading instructions, before signalling through the screen to the vehicle’s control station that it is ready to take off. The master arm is switched to ‘on’, and the troops withdraw to a safe distance.

The SnowGoose automatically starts its engine, spins up the rotor and takes off. There is also a low-altitude, low-speed air-drop capability that can be used to deliver loads to programmed coordinates.

MMIST is building two more CQ-10Bs in addition to the first prototype on display here at CANSEC. The second and third aircraft will support evaluation by the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research, which is investigating technology that could be applied to US Marine Corps operations.

The company is also looking at a development with a four-bladed propeller and main rotor, offering an increase in maximum take-off weight.

An operation envisaged for the CG-10B is to act as a transport to take supplies out to small groups of soldiers from a forward-operating base, which itself might be supplied using the Sherpa aerial delivery system, which has a capability of up to 4,535kg. Combining both MMIST-developed concepts could free tactically deployed forces completely from road transport requirements.

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