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WingXpand begins trials of its expandable wing UAV

WingXpand UAV in flight with extended wings and conventional tail. (WingXpand)

A new WingXpand unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is to be unveiled at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida, WingXpand told Janes on 11 May ahead of the event.

The WingXpand UAV is a new type of fixed-wing platform with a patented expandable wing that is fully collapsible. Its original 2.13 m (7 ft) wingspan can be reduced by 60% in less than two minutes to fit the UAV into a backpack. It has a monocoque straight tapered wing integrated with a snap attach-and-locking mechanism for wing expansion, maintaining wing stability.

It uses an open architecture system with modular payload capability, to service civil and military aviation sectors in surveillance and reconnaissance roles. The UAV can support public safety and defence, survey and inspection, damage assessment, and logistics operations. It uses smart sensing recognition via Edge artificial intelligence (AI) payloads. The company said it has received two patents for the UAV's design.

The UAV, built using carbon fibre and Kevlar composites, has a maximum take-off weight of 4.5 kg, payload weight of 0.9 kg, endurance of two hours, service ceiling of 1,830 m (6,000 ft), and cruising speed of 29 kt (54 km/h; 34 mph). It has a ventral gimballed electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) turret and can be fitted with a range of sensors like Teledyne FLIR sensors, Sony A6100 camera, signals intelligence (SIGINT), and light detection and ranging (LiDAR), enabling real-time 4K data transfer using mesh network communication. The UAV can withstand wind gusts of 44 kt (82 km/h, 51 mph) and temperatures of up to 35° C. It can be hand-launched and recovered using the belly.

WingXpand co-founder and CEO James Barbieri told Janes,

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