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AeroVironment has been awarded $4.6 million in funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a new generation small Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) with "perch-and-stare" surveillance capabilities. The micro-air vehicle will be based on the company's smallest existing UAS platform - Wasp. Read More
May 29, 2008 Unmanned aerial vehicles represent one emerging technology that has delivered as promised over the last decade, achieving critical relevance in battlefields situations where they can perform both reconnaissance and combat roles without putting humans in the the line of fire. In addition to the rapid growth and development that has occurred in relation to larger, weapons capable craft, smaller systems have also proved their worth, and the latest announcement from AeroVironment (AV) is further evidence that this sector will continue to flourish. The company which has already established unmanned micro air vehicle (MAV) programs - including the Raven and Wasp III - has now received funding to continue development of an even smaller scale platform dubbed the Nano Air Vehicle (NAV). Read More
April 14, 2008 A name familiar to Gizmag readers through its achievements in the field of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, AeroVironment is also a developer of efficient electric energy systems, an area in which it has been awarded a series of patents relating to its "Architectural Wind® Building-Integrated Energy Generation System" - a system which takes a new approach to harnessing wind power using low-profile turbines designed to maximize electricity generation by taking advantage of the way wind flows over certain types of buildings. Read More
January 9, 2008 The United States Air Force BATMAV (Battlefield Air Targeting Micro Air Vehicle) program with AeroVironment's Wasp III Micro Air Vehicle has received approval for Full Rate Production. The Wasp is a portable, 16 inche (38 cm) long, rugged unmanned aerial platform designed for front-line reconnaissance and surveillance. Read More
October 30, 2007 The Boeing Company has achieved a milestone in the development of its High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft by successfully testing a hydrogen propulsion system in simulated conditions of 65,000 feet. The test, conducted over more than three days using a Ford Motor Company-developed hydrogen engine (a gasoline version of which can be found in the Ford Fusion and Escape Hybrid) is a further step towards the realization of a UAV designed to remain airborne for more than seven days and carry multi-sensor payloads of up to 2,000 pounds. Read More
September 6, 2007 The aeronautical world is mourning the loss of visionary inventor, designer and engineer Dr Paul MacCready, who passed away on 28 August 2007. Among his very long list of accomplishments, he was most widely known as the "father of human-powered flight". Using a craft he created, the Gossamer Condor, MacCready made the first sustained, controlled flight by a heavier-than-air craft powered solely by its pilot's muscles. Read More
June 18, 2007 Another step towards exploding the perception that electric vehicles will never have the grunt, range or practicality of their oil guzzling, high-emission counterparts has been taken in California with a record charging time demonstrated for the all-electric Phoenix SUT (Sport Utility Truck). The milestone demonstration by AeroVironment saw the 35kWh (kilowatt-hour) battery pack developed for use with the Phoenix fully-charged in less than ten minutes - enough to power the five-seat utility for 100 miles. Read More
February 9, 2007 AeroVironment's Aqua Puma small unmanned aircraft system (SUAS) has successfully completed sea trials for the Royal Australian Navy to explore adding a UAS capability to the Navy’s new Armidale class patrol boats. AV’s Aqua Puma is launched by hand, lands directly onto the sea surface and is recovered by hand from vessels. It is a next-generation FQM-151 Pointer, with the same form factor but increased endurance (1.5 hours) and enhanced sensor capability. Adding the Aqua Puma to the Armidales will require no ship modifications and will add significant day and night reconnaissance and surveillance capability. Read More
April 8, 2006 One of the greatest difficulties with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft is that they invariably don’t have high speed as one of their attributes. The principles are well explained in our article about the Cartercopter, and it’s one of the prime reasons the US military has persisted with the V-22 Osprey. There has been much emphasis on the development of new unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) in recent times, and development imperatives have often been torn between the various needs for UAVs that can quickly move from target to target yet loiter as a fixed and stable platform, all the while operating with no launch and retrieval infrastructure. One of the planet's most innovative companies, Aerovironment, has proposed an innovative configuration known as the Skytote to meet all of these needs. The SkyTote is a novel UAV using dual counter rotating propellers that will take off and land vertically like a helicopter, but also transition into horizontal flight like a conventional aircraft for efficient point-to-point operation. This complex vehicle uses an intricate drive system to allow helicopter operations with cyclic and collective control, as well as blade pitch control, combined with normal aircraft control surfaces in conventional flight operations Read More
March 15, 2006 After the incredible response to yesterday’s story on weaponised micro unmanned aerial vehicles, it is interesting to note AeroVironment’s significant production milestone of Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (SUAV) systems that was announced today. The Raven (RQ-11A), a manpackable SUAV used by the U.S. Army and Special Forces since 2002, has surpassed the 3,000th air vehicle mark for production. The Raven is a 4.2 pound, hand-launched sensor platform that provides day and night, near-real-time video imagery for "over the hill" intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in support of a ground commander. Made of Kevlar and costing US$25,000, it has a range of 80 minutes at up to 90 km/h and can venture up to 15 kilometres from its controller. No greater praise can be given than by those who use the Raven and this can be evidenced at the always excellent military website StrategyPage which reports that the Raven is winning what it terms the unofficial “Commando Olympics.” StrategyPage reports that in addition to the cooperation between the commando units of over a dozen countries assembled to pursue Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, there’s a lot of comparing notes – and the most envied high tech gadget of them all is the Raven. Read More