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A growing competition between VTOL unmanned air systems (UAS) is expected in the coming years.
An innovative electric unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed in a cooperative Airbus Group effort has entered a new phase of flight testing, validating the concept’s ability to takeoff, land and hover as a quadcopter, then fly with speeds of a fixed wing aircraft.
The Quadcruiser made the first transition last week from VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) and hover modes to horizontal flight, validating its stability and controllability.
Quadcruiser is a joint effort of Airbus Group Innovations – the research and development arm managed.
The Quadcruiser’s VTOL and hover flight is achieved with the four vertically-oriented electric lift motors, enabling it to perform like the well-known quadcopter-type remotely-controlled vehicles. During transition to fixed-wing aircraft mode, Quadcruiser’s rear pusher propeller accelerates the aircraft until its wings provide sufficient lift. The lift motors are then stopped, and their propellers adjusted to a low-drag position. Before landing, Quadcruiser transitions back to the quadcopter mode using its four lift motors.
Israel aerospace industries (IAI) is also in the market with its Panther VTOL UAS.
The Panther is a uniquely designed Fixed Wing VTOL UAV System with a tilt rotor capability that provides a remarkable solution to a wide variety of tasks when pin-point automatic take off and landing is a requirement.
The system can be utilized in military, civilian and homeland security (HLS) operations providing high level of operational flexibility and a small logistical footprint.