The new unmanned vertical-takeoff aircraft could wing its way to the battlefield and land with the precision of a helicopter. Aurora Excalibur VTOL AUV has a maximum speed of 460 mph, or but also have the ability to loiter overhead at just 115 mph. The unmanned aerial system (UAS) could pack a 400-pound payload of four Hellfire missiles, and also deliver weapons or other supplies to warfighters deep in rough territory.
The 13ft-long UAV is powered by a tilting jet engine and three battery-powered lift fans. The aircraft made its first hover flight on June 24, lasting just under 2min, at Aberdeen Proving Gorund, Maryland. Excalibur is a proof-of-principle testbed for a 400kt VTOL unmanned combat aircraft.
“It was a flawless first flight with a crisp takeoff and perfect landing,” reported John Langford, president of Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation. “In flight, the hover stability and heading control performance were excellent.”
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