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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

VTOL UAV with SAR & Mini-Gun?

Yet another UAV is coming out from under wraps, this time from a relatively new company in the UAV field, American Dynamics.

The BattleHog close air support vertical takeoff and landing unmanned vehicle first took flight in January 2005 and has been in development since 2001.

There is apparently some mystery as to how a little known company making high speed marine stabilisation technologies wound up developing such a seemingly formidable ISR/attack platform but all the comapny CEO will say is that they had "investors".

So is the company worth it's salt?
Well it's certainly not a Stavatti clone. For those who don't know the Stavatti story, it's apparently a bogus company that started out as a drum manufacturer and somehow turned into an aerospace company with a web site claiming they had "6th Generation" fighter aircraft designed and ready to be built. Problem is - no one has yet to define what attributes "6th Gen" aircraft would possess. Several years back they also said they had particle beam rifles, etc. Pretty crazy stuff actually, and certainly not realistic... but I digress.

Truth be known these guys at American Dynamics sound like they are "company" owned. They've got flying demonstrators and major financing from ghost investors. Pretty interesting...

Well, back to the BattleHog.

The BattleHog 100X has actually had test flights and was first shown to the public at the recent Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s (AUVSI) Unmanned Systems North America conference in Orlando, FL in late August 2006.

Specs and other info are as follows:
* Currently powered by a Rolls Royce T63-A720 turbine engine but may be revised to a Pratt & Whitney PW206
* FLIR Systems combined infra-red and daylight camera system located in an under fuselage turret
* Miniature synthetic aperture radar
* a modified Northrop Grumman APG-68(V)5 radar
* Narrow band satellite communications links
Armaments:* 2 Lockheed Martin AGM-14K Hellfire missiles
* M134 7.62 calibre minigun
* Hydra-70 folding fin rockets

The BattleHog 350X will be a larger version with a 40 foot wingspan, Weapons load is expected to include carriage of J series guided bombs and the Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM missile, carried in internal bays, and a 20mm machine gun.

The BattleHog sounds survivable enough with a carbonfiber and kevlar composites that make it impervious to 7.62mm fire.

Flight International.

Posted by Natalie @ 1:12 AM

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