The design and construction of a shiplaunched VTOL unmanned air vehicle
Blanchette, Bryan M.
Howard, Richard M.
Pagenkopf, Eric L.
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A Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) was designed to serve as a shiplaunched reconnaissance and over the horizon targeting aircraft. Modeled after the U.S. Army's Aquila, the aircraft features a unique tilting ducted fan propulsion unit. The duct contains the engine, propeller, and control vanes used to provide the VTOL capability and is designed to be rotated as a unit for transition into horizontal flight. The duct also provides a measure of shipboard safety by eliminating the potential propeller blade and other hazards associated with the launch and recovery cycle currently experienced by topside personnel. The advantage of using tilting ducted fan technology is it allows the vehicle to operate off of any ship and will have the dash speed to arrive on station in a timely manner. A 1/2 scale model was built using composite wet lay-up techniques as a technology demonstrator and flight test vehicle. The engine system was tested but failed to produce enough static thrust for vertical takeoff. Research is continuing in the development of a propeller that will provide the necessary thrust.
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