BOMBARDIER PLANS a September maiden flight of its CL-327 rotary-wing unmanned air-vehicle (UAV), the production version of its vertical take-off and landing CL-227.

The Canadian company decided a year ago to launch limited production in a bid to stimulate demand for its much-tested UAV. The production CL-327 has an uprated 95kW (125shp) Williams International WTS125 turboshaft, increased fuel capacity, larger rotors, lighter composite airframe and new Lear Astronics avionics.

The improvements result in a 200km (110nm) range, 5h endurance and 18,000ft (5,500ft) ceiling. Maximum take-off weight is increased to 340kg, providing a 105kg payload.

Bombardier is marketing a baseline land-based system, consisting of four air vehicles and a ground station, for $5 million. Systems are available for delivery early in 1998, and the company hopes to have its first customer signed up by the end of the year.

Baseline capabilities include automatic take-off and landing and a 100km-range datalink. A maritime UAV system costs an additional $1 million. The CL-327 will be fabricated in Canada and assembled in Lawton, Oklahoma. A CL-427 variant, with a streamlined airframe providing a 20kt (37km/h) increase in forward speed, is also on offer.

Source: Flight International