Twitter Facebook Google RSS
 
National Defense > Blog > Posts > New, Small Remotely Piloted Aircraft Deployed in Afghanistan
New, Small Remotely Piloted Aircraft Deployed in Afghanistan
By Stew Magnuson


The Skate

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — An Air Force Research Laboratory funded small unmanned aerial vehicle was sent to Afghanistan earlier this year to assist with perimeter security near bases, it was announced Sept. 16

The Skate, and hand-launched 2.2-pound unmanned aerial vehicle made by Aurora Flight Sciences of Manassas, Va., is intended for use by special investigations personnel who must go into villages near U.S. bases, said Peter LeHew, director of UAS operations at the company.

OSI investigators look into criminal activity that affect bases. "They need something to go a little bit outside the wire to help their team as they are going out."

The OSI teams were looking for something low cost and easy to use. The training on how to use it can be finished in about 45 minutes, LeHew said.

Unlike some of the other small UAS such as the Puma, it is not necessary to stand up and launch it like a football. The operator can hold it at about waist level, let the propellers run and then let go. It then descends almost straight up, which is close to a vertical launch. For that reason, the Army has also looked at the aircraft to launch from armored personnel carriers, he added.

The Skate has a range of 3.5 kilometers, endurance of about 60 minutes, and can fly up to 400 feet. With the controller, it weighs 7.5 pounds. It can fly with the controller or autonomously using waypoint navigation.

The light material, which looks and feels like Styrofoam, but is actually much stronger, is meant to take a beating. The propellers break away from the body if there is an impact, and are easily reattached, LeHew demonstrated.

Four systems were sent to Afghanistan in March, but the company was only recently authorized to speak about the program.

Carl Schaefer Jr., director of small UAS programs at the company, said Aurora is working with special operators as well as some commercial customers in the wildlife management sector. There are potential buyers in South Africa who are interested in it for anti-poaching operations.

"That is a big potential market for this," Schaefer said.

Photo Credit:
Aurora Flight Sciences

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post.
Items on this list require content approval. Your submission will not appear in public views until approved by someone with proper rights. More information on content approval.

Name: *

eMail *

Comment *

Title

Attachments

Name: *


eMail *


Comment *


 

Refresh
Please enter the text displayed in the image.
The picture contains 6 characters.

Characters *

  

Legal Notice *

NDIA is not responsible for screening, policing, editing, or monitoring your or another user's postings and encourages all of its users to use reasonable discretion and caution in evaluating or reviewing any posting. Moreover, and except as provided below with respect to NDIA's right and ability to delete or remove a posting (or any part thereof), NDIA does not endorse, oppose, or edit any opinion or information provided by you or another user and does not make any representation with respect to, nor does it endorse the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement, or other material displayed, uploaded, or distributed by you or any other user. Nevertheless, NDIA reserves the right to delete or take other action with respect to postings (or parts thereof) that NDIA believes in good faith violate this Legal Notice and/or are potentially harmful or unlawful. If you violate this Legal Notice, NDIA may, in its sole discretion, delete the unacceptable content from your posting, remove or delete the posting in its entirety, issue you a warning, and/or terminate your use of the NDIA site. Moreover, it is a policy of NDIA to take appropriate actions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other applicable intellectual property laws. If you become aware of postings that violate these rules regarding acceptable behavior or content, you may contact NDIA at 703.522.1820.

 

 

Bookmark and Share