Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles|
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
|Copyright © 2006 Andreas Parsch|
In 1998, AeroVironment received a contract from the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) to develop the SkyTote, a new concept for a cargo-delivering UAV. The SkyTote specification called for a tail-sitting VTOL UAV, which could operate as a helicopter as well as transition to fixed-wing flight. The development program included a lot of simulation work and wind-tunnel testing to design and debug the necessary complex flight control system of the vehicle. As of May 2004, the SkyTote UAV had reached the stage of strapped-down propulsion system tests, and has since proceeded to free hovering tests.
|Photo: Air Force Research Lab|
The SkyTote is powered by an internal combustion engine, which drives two large contra-rotating propellers. The propellers are able to work as helicopter blades in vertical flight and as variable-pitch propellers in wing-borne flight. The UAV has a payload capacity of 23 kg (50 lb), can hover at up to 760 m (2500 ft) above ground, and cruise at 3000 m (10000 ft).
|Photo: AeroVironment Inc.|
An operational SkyTote UAV could be employed to deliver supplies to forward troop positions with pin-point accuracy. The design itself is intended to be scalable, so that also a larger version could be built for higher payloads or even to transport personnel.
Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!
Data for SkyTote:
|Length||2.3 m (7.5 ft)|
|Wingspan||2.4 m (8 ft)|
|Weight||110 kg (250 lb)|
|Speed||370 km/h (230 mph)|
|Ceiling||3000 m (10000 ft)|
|Range||380 km (235 miles)|
 Aviation Week & Space Technology "Aerospace SourceBook 2006"
 AFRL Accomplishment Report, May 2004
Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 4