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AUSA 2023: Quantum-Systems unveils Twister small UAV

Quantum-Systems Twister small UAV. (Quantum-Systems)

Quantum-Systems unveiled the Twister small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) 2023 symposium in Washington, DC, complementing the manufacturer's larger Vector UAV.

Twister, which can be carried disassembled into six parts in a manportable rucksack, has a 4.1 ft (1.2 m) wingspan (assembled) and weighs 5.5 lb (2.5 kg), of which 350 g are reserved for payload.

The UAV is intended to lift off vertically from a tail-sitting position before transitioning to horizontal flight. It is to be powered by a lithium-ion or lithium polymer battery, giving the craft a 75 minute endurance, David Sharpin, CEO of Quantum-Systems Inc, a subsidiary of Germany’s Quantum-Systems GmbH, told Janes on 10 October at AUSA. The craft can be controlled up to 6.2 miles away from its control station, according to Quantum-Systems.

“[Twister] is in prototype phase and will continue with prototype phase through early next year,” said Sharpin.

Five Twisters are undergoing flight tests at the company's Munich, Germany factory, Sharpin said, testing different gimbal configurations and nosecones. The UAV is designed to carry two different electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensors, the NextVision Nighthawk2-UZ and AVT Australia CM62 series.

“We probably have about 150 hours on this bird so far,” said Sharpin. “And that will increase as we go through the winter and the spring. We will probably have 1,000 hours total before we go to production.”

Twister is to be natively equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities using an Nvidia processor chip aboard the aircraft. Quantum-Systems announced a partnership with SightX AI to classify and warn operators about objects detected by the EO/IR sensors.

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