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

Naval Research Lab MITE (Micro Tactical Expendable)

Since 1996 the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), has researched Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) for possible naval military applications. This research, which was to define the smallest possible UAV for useful military purposes, resulted in the MITE (Micro Tactical Expendable) series of experimental MAVs.

Photos: NRL

The basic MITE design is a hand-launched propeller-driven flying wing, which is powered by two small electric motors in the wings. This configuration provides the necessary flight stability of such a small vehicle. The initial flight test vehicle was the MITE 2, which was tested in two configurations. The first one (MITE 2A) carried no payload, and was presumably used to validate the basic vehicle design. The second one (MITE 2B) had a 12 V instead of the original 9 V battery, more powerful motors (7 W vs. 4 W), and a color video system payload. The MITE 2 demonstrated an endurance of up to 30 minutes. MITE 3 was a derivative of the MITE 2B with lower wingspan,some improved components, and new rechargeable batteries. The final MITE 4 was slightly heavier and had a longer wingspan. It could accommodate experimental payloads weighing up to 100 g (3.5 oz).

Photo: NRL

MITE vehicles have been used by the NRL to develop and test all sorts of flight control systems for MAVs, including GPS waypoint navigation, heading/altitude-holding navigation, a terrain avoidance system, and optical and inertial stabilization systems. The evaluation of possible payloads for military MAV applications included an EW (Electronic Warfare) mission demonstration in 2002.


Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for MITE:

Wingspan36.8 cm (14.5 in)30.5 cm (12 in)47 cm (18.5 in)
Weight2A: 128 g (4.5 oz)
2B: 213 g (7.5 oz)
128 g (4.5 oz) (w/o payload) 312-354 g (11-12.5 oz)
Speed16-32 km/h (10-20 mph)
Endurance30 min.?
Propulsion2x electric motor; 4 W (2A) or 7 W (2B) each2x electric motor; 9 W each 2x electric motor; 10 W each

Main Sources

[1] NRL UAV Fact Sheets
[2] James Kellogg "The NRL MITE Air Vehicle", Proceedings of the Bristol RPV/AUV Systems Conference, 2001

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

Last Updated: 12 February 2006