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AeroVironment launches new Vapor UAS variant

Vapor 55 MX is the latest Vapor UAS variant with enhanced endurance and payload capacity. (AeroVironment, Inc)

AeroVironment has unveiled Vapor 55 MX, an all-electric rotorcraft unmanned aerial system (UAS), which has increased endurance and payload capacity compared with its predecessor – Vapor 55.

With a redesigned modular architecture, the platform's operational endurance is extended by 25%, and its payload capacity is increased by 20% when compared with Vapor 55.

The system, which has heavy-lift capability with improved payload capacity, enables users to choose from single or multiple payload configurations. The UAS has a maximum 19 mile range, with the capacity to carry a 5.4 kg payload for 75 minutes. Its payload capacity can be extended to host a 10 kg payload, although this reduces endurance, the company detailed.

A new payload interface and tool-free quick rail mount enables easy field integration of both current and future payloads for mission flexibility, the company said.

Vapor was first unveiled at the 2019 Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition in London and was initially available in two variants – Vapor 55 and 35. The systems are fitted with an all-electric propulsion system powered by a high-density lithium-polymer battery, with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities. Both variants have a payload capacity of 4.5 kg and 2.27 kg, respectively, with a maximum 5 mile range, and are capable of carrying electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) and hyper-spectral imaging sensors for surveillance purposes.

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