Robonic Ltd Oy has successfully demonstrated the high speed launch of representative unmanned air systems in the 100 kg range at speeds of 70 meters per second.
The demonstration launches, conducted in February 2011, are part of a continuing company program to expand the capability envelope of the Robonic pneumatic launcher family to meet the needs of new generation UAS and target drones. "We are committed to ensuring our launchers remain the solution of choice as market requirements evolve," says Robonic Managing Director Juha Moisio.
Existing production Robonic launchers currently provide launch speeds of up to 55 meters per second for air vehicles in the 250kg maximum takeoff mass category and to approximately 38 meters per second in the 500kg range.
"Our research and development program is helping pave the way for the next generation of lightweight unmanned air systems and target drones," says Moisio.
Existing industry trends in UAS and target drone design are seeing a continued reduction in aircraft mass as well as increased endurance.
The potential for very high speed launch of lightweight UAS and target drones will directly support the continued opening up of a new market space for smaller and lower cost systems. Launch speeds in the range of 70 m/s per second will be essential to achieving the viability of this notional new generation.
The achievement of 70 meters per second launch speeds will also provide new flexibility for existing UAS and target drones using Robonic hardware. "We can leverage these gains to provide improved launch speeds for existing air vehicles via combination of launcher modifications and new cradle types, with final performance remaining dependent on air vehicle weight", added Moiso.