The Jump 20 VTOL unmanned aerial system by California-based, privately owned Arcturus UAV (Stand 07-A22) has just participated in a US Army competition that also involved several of the world's major UAV manufacturers. This fly-off was the flight demonstration phase in the Army's Future Tactical UAS programme (FTUAS). A shortlist announcement is imminent, after which the preferred systems will be subjected to a two-year evaluation.
"The Jump 20 is an excellent fit for FTUAS. It is the first and only VTOL fixed-wing UAS fielded at present in support of the US Military," said Philip Mahill, Arcturus UAV's vice president of business development. "This capability means it requires no runway or launch system, though for added payload or 24 hours' endurance requirement, catapult launch is possible with a simple wing change."
Powerful rotors mounted fore and aft on two slim booms on the wing enable vertical take-off and landing. For horizontal flight, the UAV is powered by a rugged four-stroke engine and nose-mounted propeller, which provide up to 14 hours of endurance. The Jump 20 has a typical maximum speed of 72kts. At 3m long with a 6m wingspan, it has a maximum take-off weight of about 95kg and a rated ceiling of 15,000ft.
The Jump 20's VTOL capability enables it to launch and recover from confined or unprepared areas without expensive and bulky launch and recovery equipment.
This provides an expeditionary solution in the sense that users are not constrained by obstacles or terrain. After launch, aircraft control can be passed to mobile units, with take-off and landing available at any location. The UAV passes video directly to frontline commanders and operates with a One System Remote Viewing Terminal. It is manned-unmanned teaming-capable.
With a large internal modular payload bay, wing hard points and a robust power supply, the Jump 20 accommodates a wide variety of payloads and data-links.
According to the company, it has already integrated several class-leading gyrostabilised EO/ IR gimbals, including the Cloud Cap Technologies 400 LD capable series. A variety of 3D mapping, SAR, LiDAR, WAMI, communications relay, COMINT and SIGINT systems are also available.