Basildon, UK: SELEX Sensors and Airborne Systems (S&AS), a Finmeccanica company, will unveil a model of its brand new tactical UAV, the Damselfy at the ParcAberporth Unmanned Systems event on 11-12th July.
This new UAV with Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) capability is expected to be especially useful in areas where space for launch and recovery operations is restricted. This capability will come in very handy, for instance, on board a ship, or in urban areas where similarly sized UAVs have not previously been able to fly.
Along with a VTOL capability, Damselfly makes a graceful transition to horizontal flight by means of a vectored thrust combined propulsion and lift system. The UAV lifts and hovers on four pillars of air through independently directed nozzles co-ordinated by some extremely advanced avionics, which configuration enables it to have the hover capability of a helicopter but with outstanding wind gust resistance and a small landing and take-off footprint.
Once airborne, the thrust nozzles swing back, allowing a graceful transition to high-speed forward flight on its conventional wings. According to SELEX, the technology actively resists lateral forces making it ideal for use on ships or for use in so called "Urban Canyons".
Damselfly will use the same common ground station as SELEX S&AS's other mini-UAVs and will, depending on the configuration, offer a variety of payload capabilities.
Damselfly will serve both the military and civilian markets and is ideally suited for homeland security roles. The aircraft is capable of take-off and landing in very small areas, whilst reaching top speeds of 150kt (280km/h), and can be built to mini or larger configurations, depending on the specific requirement.
An electric-powered subscale demonstrator of the new UAV - with a span of around 1m - has been undergoing successful hover trials since early April. Further flight trials including transition are planned from November at the ParcAberporth range, with the demonstrator to be converted to an internal combustion engine for the trials.