VTOL Research & Development
Our vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAVs are invaluable platforms for further developing our expertise and testing our VTOL technology. VTOL aircraft arguably are the most complex aerospace platforms ever conceived. VTOL electric/hybrid aircraft are the future so we need to understand them.
Pursuing VSTOL capabilities
The unique Hammerhead VSTOL is tilt-rotor aircraft with 3D thrust vectoring and conventional control surfaces. It has demonstrated hover capabilities and, like the Harrier, has the capability to operate from confined spaces and fly at reasonably high speeds. The aircraft has differential collective and ailerons providing high roll bandwidth and rate response as well as good pitch authority due the combination of canard and pitch thrust vectoring. The platform is a good basis for testing tilt rotor and thrust vectoring technologies.
The prototype has achieved some 50 VTOL flights and a smaller model has demonstrated forward flight. An up-scaled variant is planned and we are seeking government / investor support.
Control system development
Our V-22 UAV is used by our research and development team as a test bed for our flight control development program and VTOL simulation model refinement. Fitted with a Pixhawk 2 autopilot and modified control software, the platform has undertaken some 30 flights. An improved autopilot is being considered to provide more accurate GPS & inertial input. Ultimately, we hope to expand the flight envelope and challenge our understanding of the aircraft.