Madrid: Spain''''s National Institute of Aerospace Technology has developed the first unmanned airplane-helicopter hybrid, a vehicle that will be operational in 2010 and will be designed to monitor borders and coastlines.
The HADA, as it is known, will be the first aircraft to take off and land vertically like a helicopter and also deploy its wings and fly horizontally like an airplane.
According to project leader, Manuel Mulero, the HADA could be designed for manned flights at a later stage. The HADA project will remain in the design phase until the middle of next year when an operational prototype is expected to become available.
Mulero said that the aircraft, which will carry instruments to transmit images, position and trajectory of targets in real time, will allow ''''high efficiency'''' flights in less time and on one-third of fuel normally consumed.
The HADA, the first prototype of which may carry a cargo of up to 150 kg, will remain airborne for 3-6 hours, and could be used on missions to monitor coasts and borders.