PICTURE: Improved AirMule resumes flight testing

Tel Aviv
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The prototype of Urban Aeronautics' AirMule ducted-fan unmanned air vehicle has resumed flight testing after the company completed a four-month systems and structural upgrade.

According to the Israeli company, the AirMule is now flying with an expanded suite of sensors and a new, energy-absorbing wheeled landing gear. The latter has been tested and shown to accommodate the full spectrum of the Federal Aviation Administration's FAR 27 landing requirements, it said.

Aerodynamic improvements have also been made to the air vehicle's lower fuselage to improve its control response in gusty wind conditions. "Initial results from the tests look very promising," a company source said.

Urban Aeronautics Air Mule UAV
 © Urban Aeronautics

In parallel with its test campaign, Urban Aeronautics is working to secure additional funding that will enable it to continue the project over the next few years up to full-scale development and production.

The AirMule has an empty weight of 770kg (1,700lb) and a maximum gross take-off weight of 1,400kg. Powered by a 940shp (701kW) Turbomeca Ariel 2 engine, it has a projected maximum speed of 97kt (180km/h) and a service ceiling of 12,000ft (3,660m). Flight endurance is up to 5h.

Intended to perform unmanned casualty evacuation and cargo resupply tasks, the UAV is 6.2m long, 2.1m wide and has a rotor diameter of 1.8m.