The AirShip Endurance V2 and V5 UAVs are being developed to operate autonomously through an unmanned aerial system (UAS) that provides 1st Responder customers with a superior real-time video field of view for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). The AirShip V2’s lateral and rear turbines are being developed as a combination ducted fan with integrated Solar Turbine Air Accelerators (compressed air) that will support the V2 as a clean tech propulsion system. Both electric propulsion systems can be used simultaneously or independently. For low acoustics and stealth flight, only the integrated air accelerators are enabled.
When complete, these solar turbines will provide thrust propulsion required by the AirShip V2’s vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), consume dramatically less energy during fixed wing flight operation, and fly with a 30 to 90 days flight endurance. With its efficient design, this patent pending AirShip Endurance VTOL UAV quickly operates flight management and will have sustainable propulsion via applied external solar film and internal rechargeable ultracapacitors for stored electricity.
AirShip Technologies Group's AirShip V9 & V17 VTOL UAVs
are designed as Tier II vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for medium altitude and long endurance (MALE). The aircraft are designed for diverse mission deployment. As a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), they are designed to transport 1-4 people without a pilot to forward operating bases (FOB); drive on prepared surfaces or off-road conditions; take off and land vertically to cross water, terrain or obstructions and avoid ambush or IEDs. The design has speed, maneuverability and range to perform "tactically relevant" missions on a single tank of fuel. The aircraft’s added mission extensions are a) medium altitude stationary hover surveillance, b) communications relay, c) ship-to-shore troop insertion, d) improvised explosive device (IED) avoidance, e) Special Operations Forces resupply, f) medical evacuations, and g) remote payload emplacement. The AirShip V9 and V17 use two turbo strut engines to power the three ducted fans This clean tech hybrid fuel-to-electric propulsion enables the UAV to acquire gasoline fuel in the field for resupply.
This AirShipTG V9 and V17 UAV design and flight control strategies necessary to achieve a VTOL UAV (pilotless) hover capability are mainly used during launch and land operations. The aircraft highlights design trade-offs that yield the capability of a fixed wing UAV (in terms of endurance and payload) while allowing for vertical take-off and landings described above for the various mission cycles without refueling.
AirShip VTOL Transformer’s key design technologies include adaptive low aspect wing structures, ducted fan rotor propulsion, lightweight composite structures, advanced flight controls for stable transition between vertical and horizontal flight, hybrid fuel-to-electric powertrain, and an electric motor in-wheel drivetrain for ground transit.
The aircraft is unusually agile. It turns by changing the pitch angle of its upper and lower rotor blades to different degrees. The more sharply pitched of the two rotors develops more lift and absorbs more power than its counterpart, creating a powerful, immediate instant torque effect that snaps the fuselage to the direction specified.
AirShip Endurance V9 and V17 VTOL Transformer UAVs use an electric motor in-wheel drivetrain for ground transit. The air/vehicle's ground transit, electric in-motor wheels hold tires in place while vastly simplifying the all wheel drive and drive-by-wire system. The wheel configuration and transit drive system enables the driver to maneuver all three or alternatively four wheel configuration for handling and steering. For air transit and on-road driving, the 3-wheel configuration ground wheels retract into the fuselage, see Functionality and Value Proposition.
With the AirShip Endurance V9 air/vehicle’s transformer capability, the aircraft accommodates a wing span from 5 ft at rest, launch and landing to 9 ft at full launch and flight. This more that meets and accounts for the target 5 ft specified width required to support the “at rest” footprint requirement of the US Air Force Research Lab's Special Operations Transport aircraft. At rest, launch and landing the air/vehicle nestles squarely within the confines of the required footprint. During air transit, the aircraft is 9 feet long by 9 feet wide with all but a foot of the anterior mid section width taken up by the lateral ducted fan rotor assemblies. When extended, the rear upper right and left horizontal stabilizer winglets of the V-Wing account for a maximum aircraft height of 5 ft and a minimum aircraft height of 5 ft at rest with ground wheels extended. Within 30 seconds, the low-aspect ratio wings can extend and rotate out of the fuselage after vertical take-off and can be retracted into the fuselage after landing and at rest. During ground transit, the width is 5 feet conforming to the ground transit requirements. For weight to strength efficiency, the air/vehicle has a titanium airframe and uses light weight composites-based exterior panels. Additionally, molded structural polyurethane is used for the interior life support and cargo /payload bay requirements.
The air/vehicle’s maximum lift payload is 1,000 pounds after fully loaded with fuel. It is capable of carrying 2 to 3 people for troop insertion missions (one forward placement person and up to two mid placement people plus equipment for a combined total payload of 1,000 pounds. For medical evacuation configuration, one forward placement medic, two medical evacuation litters and medical equipment allow for the 1,000 pounds. For pilotless resupply and cargo transit missions, all 1,000 pounds are available for freeform configuration. For rescue mission configuration, the air/vehicle UAV can be dispatched through wireless communications to secure GPS coordinates for use as an empty weight aircraft capable of 1,000 pounds retrieval.
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