Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
Copyright © 2006 Andreas Parsch

AeroVironment SkyTote

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:

Length2.3 m (7.5 ft)
Wingspan2.4 m (8 ft)
Weight110 kg (250 lb)
Speed370 km/h (230 mph)
Ceiling3000 m (10000 ft)
Range380 km (235 miles)
Endurance1.5 h
PropulsionIC engine

Main Sources

[1] Aviation Week & Space Technology "Aerospace SourceBook 2006"
[2] AFRL Accomplishment Report, May 2004

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 4

Last Updated: 23 January 2006