Various UAV and UCAV designs from the USA

Dragon029

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The others around it look as if they could be bug-sized or shaped systems as well; noting the twin bulbous 'eyes' on each, the protuding legs, etc - there has been some interesting and somewhat successful work on 'cyborg' beetles that can be remotely controlled, although they don't appear anything like that.
 

Stargazer2006

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A small company called Theiss Aviation has developed several so-called NIRVs (Nature Inspired Reconnaissance Vehicles), which are basically UAVs or MAVs shaped like birds.

The Seagull :






The Hawk :




The Vulture :








The Spy Pigeon:




Source: http://www.theissaviation.com/
 

Grey Havoc

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Hmmmm.

Robo-Copter Will Keep Tabs on Navy’s Biofuel Plants


The Navy is hoping to one day run a huge chunk of its fleet on biofuels. So the Navy’s advanced researchers — and their partners at the U.S. Department of Agriculture — are turning to a tiny robotic helicopter to help them figure out which crop they might be able to convert into their fuel of the future.

The experiment is taking place over 35,000 acres of Maui soil, on the fields of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar, the state’s largest commercial sugar plantation. That’s the site of a $10 million, five-year gamble to test which of plantation’s crops might work as grow-your-jetfuel. The drone helicopter will track every temperature fluctuation and sprouting bud emerging into the Hawaiian sun......


.....Nevertheless, the Office of Naval Research and the Agriculture Department are wondering whether Maui’s mix of plants, tropical sun, and nutrient-rich soil can produce a bumper crop of clean, renewable energy. Enter the Leptron corporation’s tiny drone helicopter, the Avenger. It’s about to be the Navy’s robotic horticulturist in Hawaii.

The Department of Agriculture recently bought an Avenger — not to be confused with the next-generation Predator drone — so its thermal imaging cameras can gather “small plot specific data,” particularly about crop temperature. The department wants a drone instead of a manned helicopter so it can keep the Avenger hovering over the patch of farmland and taking pictures longer than a human being could handle. The idea is that the Avenger’s persistent stare will alert researchers to any problems with the crops — including jatropha, sweet sorghum, and sugar cane — before the entire experiment is jeopardized. The team figures that Hawaii is an ideal venue for the experiement: it’s a high-fertility environment that’s already home to the Pacific Fleet. “A perfect storm of opportunity,” is how the Navy’s top energy official described Hawaii in 2010......


.....But the first lookout for whether grow-your-own fuel is even viable will be the diminutive, svelte Avenger, whose main rotor is merely six feet in diameter. In addition to optional remote-control or programmable autonomous flight options, it comes with a pair of video goggles, which Leptron calls a “Personal Media Viewer,” to give a person below a drone’s eye view. Watching the grass grow was never this captivating.
 

AeroFranz

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Sorry for digging up old stuff, but i only just now saw Flateric's posted video "Engineering Design takes flight" one page back.
First off, great video. The other thing, at 2:24, is it me or does the lower framed picture show a dogfight between a MiG-29 and a manned sixth-gen fighter with inverted Vee-tails? While i have seen every single one of the other concepts shown in the video, i don't recall ever seeing that particular one anywhere else...
 

flateric

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Stargazer2006

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A fabulous set of captures, and a couple of amazing designs here...

And to think that this is only the emerged part of the iceberg that is Lockheed Martin's R&D programs...
 

pedrospe

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Great set of images,thanks a lot for posting them.

best regards
 

sferrin

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Nice shots of the manned Saber Warrior. :)
 

flateric

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these are really unseen before (me thinks)
 

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sferrin

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I could swear I've seen 02 in Jay Miller's F-22 book.
 
I

Ian33

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Picture 02 (or a shape and configuration that is so spookily similar it boggles the mind!) plagued the Pennines from '92 until around '98 / '99 time frame when the sightings halted.

I'll have to go visit Bradford archives and see if I can get the articles and letters to local newspapers because many people saw this threading through valleys and snatched glimpses from tops of the peaks very early in the mornings.

Interestingly enough an airliner coming into Manchester was nearly in collision with a very similar dark fast wedge shaped airframe. Made quite a stir at the time I can tell you!
 

donnage99

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picture 5 and 6 look hella interesting. Based on the look of the cockpit, it got to be the size of a bomber, but the box wing suggests a emphasis in getting full coverage from a distributed sensor package. If it's a survilliance aircraft, then shouldn't it be better to go unmanned? Or is the wierd looking box wings are used for aerodynamic efficiency?
 

quellish

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Ian33 said:
Picture 02 (or a shape and configuration that is so spookily similar it boggles the mind!) plagued the Pennines from '92 until around '98 / '99 time frame when the sightings halted.

I'll have to go visit Bradford archives and see if I can get the articles and letters to local newspapers because many people saw this threading through valleys and snatched glimpses from tops of the peaks very early in the mornings.

Interestingly enough an airliner coming into Manchester was nearly in collision with a very similar dark fast wedge shaped airframe. Made quite a stir at the time I can tell you!
02 is:

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,10031.0.html
and
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,8487.msg75446.html#msg75446

The UK aircraft was believed at the time to be a BAe project called "HALO" - though given what we now know about Replica, it's not likely that BAe had something flying at that time.
 

flateric

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Stargazer2006

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Last image pointed in the slideshow doesn't exist!!
 

Grey Havoc

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In other news, via Slashdot, here's an interesting offshoot of the Adaptive Vehicle Make program:

Pentagon drafts today’s kids to build tomorrow’s aerial killers

In a world where warfare is fast becoming fielded by remote controlled and autonomous robots, innovation is the key to victory. The most technologically advanced superpower can see more, plan better, and attack from further away than its inferior adversaries. What better to revolutionize the drone and robotics industry but the brilliant minds of our children? That’s what the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Defense Department’s research and development arm, thinks too.

It’s the Adaptive Vehicle Make project through a pilot program called Manufacturing Experimentation and Outreach, and it’s slated to reach a thousand schools in and out of the country, roping in the brightest minds to develop robotics and advance technology in new and interesting ways.

Funded by the Department of Defense, the program comes with a steep cost: The DoD wants unlimited rights to everything the students build. That’s right: equipment, tests, source code… the whole nine yards. It’s crowdsourcing at its very best.

Although the article is a little.. negative about the scheme.
 

flateric

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well, not quite 'new'
Lockheed Martin Antisubmarine Warfare UAV patent from 2001
 

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Grey Havoc

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VTOL UAS, Tighter Teaming In U.S. Army Future (Aviation Week)

Having pushed unmanned systems further than any other U.S. service, the Army is preparing to take the next steps, fielding a vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) aircraft and raising manned-unmanned teaming to a higher level. While VTOL will provide the U.S. Army with new basing, operating and sensing options, teaming is central to its plans for future rotorcraft that could be optionally manned.

The Army is embarked on the two-track journey to a vertical-lift unmanned aircraft, fielding an existing system as a quick-reaction capability while developing requirements for a follow-on VTOL UAS program of record. Three Boeing A160T Hummingbird unmanned helicopters are scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan in June, but the second track hit a bump in the road in February when the U.S. Navy canceled its planned Medium-Range Maritime Unmanned Aerial System (MRMUAS) program.
 

Stargazer2006

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BAI Aerosystems TERN UAV (U.S. Army FOG-R, now FROG)

The FROG unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is a small high wing monoplane used for digital control system research by the Naval Postgraduate School Aeronautics Department. The airplane was manufactured by BAI Aerosystems, as the BAI TERN (Tactically Expendable Remote Navigator), and was formerly designated the FOG-R by the U.S. Army. In the FOG-R configuration the airplane was equipped with a fiber optic data link for command uplink and video downlink. The TERN was designed to carry up to twenty-two pounds of payload for periods of up to four hours. The TERN UAV is currently in use as a test bed for sensor systems by both the US Navy’s Strike UAV Program and NASA. In the past, the NPS FROG had been configured with a variety of sensors including an onboard autopilot, various inertial measurement units, GPS receivers, an instrumented nose boom and a digital camera.

The FROG is configured with a Model BA64 6.4 cubic inch, horizontally opposed, piston engine, manufactured by Brinson Aircraft Company. The 2-cylinder engine developed 9.3 Hp and is equipped with a two bladed propeller mounted in a tractor orientation in a nacelle atop the wing, as depicted in Figure 2.3. The FROG has fixed tricycle landing gear with a steer-able nose wheel. The empennage is connected to the body of the airplane by a 1.75-inch diameter aluminum tube. The FROG is equipped with conventional elevator, rudder, ailerons and flaps. Small servomotors, designed for use in radio-controlled airplanes, actuate the control surfaces.

Length: 8.125 ft
Height: 1.75 ft
Weight: 67.7 lbs
Power Plant: 9.3 Hp / 2 Cycle
Wing Airfoil: NACA 2415
Horizontal Stabilizer Airfoil: NACA 0006 (Approx.)
Wing Span (b): 126.5 in
Tail Span (bw): 39.75 in
Vertical Tail Span (bv): 15.0 in
ARw: 6.32


All of the above and more in this 2001 thesis:
Design and evaluation of a digital flight control system for the Frog Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
 

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Grey Havoc

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General Atomics Markets Unarmed Predator for Export

Posted by Pierre Tran | July 11th, 2012 | General Atomics, U.S., Unmanned aircraft systems



A model of the Predator XP on display at Farnborough // Colin Kelly/staff


General Atomics sees an undisclosed Middle Eastern country as the nearest prospect for a sale of an unarmed version of the Predator UAV, a company executive said.

A reduced scale model of the Predator XP hangs overhead at the General Atomics stand at the Farnborough International Airshow.

The UAV, dubbed XP for export, is similar to the Predator aircraft but the specifications have been reduced to classify as category two, a lower classification than category one, in the missile technology control regime, the executive said.

The XP air vehicle is designed for surveillance and reconnaissance and lacks hard points under the wings, so it’s unable to carry weapons, the executive said.

The technology control rules restrict the sale of the Predator to NATO allies and a handful of friendly countries such as Australia, Japan and New Zealand, leaving a number of countries in the Middle East and Latin America unable to buy the Predator because of the restrictions.

The XP model has winglets and incorporates the key characteristics of the Predator, namely triple redundancy in flight control systems and avionics, and an automatic landing and take-off capability.

The technology control regime was intended to restrict the spread of cruise missiles and a category one referred to weapon systems that carried a 500-kilogram payload for 300 kilometers.


Original article

Bigger version of above image here.
 

flateric

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flateric said:
But WTF is 'BFF'?
Best Friends Forever sounds stupid:) Battle Field F... something?
 

Mr London 24/7

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'Body-freedom flutter' studied for HALE vehicles like:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/39176969/Re-Examined-Structural-Design-Procedures-for-Very-Flexible-Aircraft
 

AeroFranz

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not unplausible. Looks like the wings are separate pieces and that there is an inboard structural joint. Maybe you can test different stiffness wings? at least that's what lockheed is doing with X-56, although that would imply duplication of efforts (?).
 

Grey Havoc

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From an Ares blog article on Northrop Grumman's Operationally Responsive Systems unit:
In the meantime, the Operationally Responsive Systems unit is also promoting a unique offering to the U.S. Air Force to train its growing cadre of General Atomics Reaper and Predator UAS pilots to conduct takeoffs and landings. Predators and Reapers suffer a high incident rate during launch and recovery. This is partially due to the latency of satellite communications used for controlling the UAS. Pilots often overcompensate for movements at the controls because of the latency of response to their commands.

The strategy is to sell training services for Predator and Reaper pilots using a Northrop Grumman-owned aircraft, called the Sandstorm, and an Internet-based control system, called the Longshot. Sandstorm—an actual 15-ft.-wingspan unmanned aircraft designed to mimic the flight characteristics of the Predator and Reaper—would be controlled remotely by students anywhere with a wideband Internet connection. Northrop's system replicates the controls of a Reaper/Predator pilot, including the feedback of the stick and throttle. Ten Sandstorms have been produced by Montana-based Unmanned Systems Inc., and the team experimented with them long before cementing its partnership in April, says Karl Purdy, manager of new UAS programs at Northrop Grumman.

Purdy estimates that the project will pay for itself by reducing the number of costly Air Force mishaps in the field. “We believe it will save them $75 million per year,” he says. Each Sandstorm costs less than $100,000, a fraction of the Reaper's multimillion-dollar price tag. The aircraft, which has a 15-ft. wingspan and is 8 ft. long, is roughly one-quarter the size of Reaper.

The Sandstorm/Longshot can perform 100 landings for the price of one by a Reaper, he says. Today, pilots train for launch and recovery using actual Predators and Reapers, causing substantial wear and tear on the platforms. Northrop's vision is to sell services to the Air Force to qualify more experienced launch-and-recovery pilots by providing them with more stick time on the Sandstorm/Longshot system than they would receive in current training.

The Internet-based model would allow for training at various locations, and a safety pilot is always present with the Sandstorm to take control of the aircraft in the event of a student error or loss of Internet connection.

Purdy argues that actual hardware is needed to teach launch-and-recovery operations because simulators cannot properly emulate the environment, including latency of controls for remote operations. This latency, or delay, was a contributing factor in many accidents because pilots tend to over-command the stick if they do not see instant feedback on the screen when operating the UAS; thus, they can run off a runway or descend too quickly while landing.

Northrop Grumman officials say the technology is applicable to other UAS fleets because it enables operators to program in the flight characteristics of aircraft such as the Hunter UAS or a bevy of Israeli models sold globally.

[IMAGE CREDIT: unmanned.co.uk article on Sandstorm (link)]​


Initial prototype at a flight demonstration event hosted by the Center for Remote Integration, Montana, November 2011
(UAV in background is a Trogdor, also from Unmanned Systems Inc.)

[IMAGE CREDIT: Patrick Cote/Daily Inter Lake (via bugerbilly at the Fifth Column)]​


[IMAGE CREDIT: sUAS News]
NOTE: This image seems to cast some doubt on whether the first image from unmanned.co.uk is actually a Sandstorm
 
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