Convertible UAVs

Aerosonde HQ

Textron’s unmanned systems division has demonstrated its Textron/Aerosonde Hybrid Quadrotor that combines the Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) capabilities of a multi-rotor platform with the speed of the Aerosonde Mk.4.7G Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

The demonstration showcased the Hybird Quadrotor’s runway-independent vertical takeoff and transition to horizontal flight, followed by a landing without the need for any pre-positioned launch or recovery personnel or equipment. The demonstration, which took place at the new Textron Systems Unmanned Systems Service and Support Centre at Blackstone, Virginia, was witnessed by numerous military, civil and commercial customers.

The Hybird Quadrotor has an eight-hour endurance with a ten pound (4.5 kilogram) payload and a 10000 feet (3048 metre) ceiling. The system is powered by Lycoming’s EL-005 engine. The Mk.4.7 can be converted into the Hybird Quadrotor by replacing the former’s twin booms and tail plane with longer booms for four two-blade rotors to provide vertical lift. The main wing and fuselage pod nacelle, and the aircraft’s engine are retained, and the conversion takes less than one hour. Textron expects the Hybird Quadrotor conversion to be available in 2017, and is currently seeking customers.