Honeywell's 13in (330mm) autonomous surveillance aircraft successfully completed its first free flight just prior to the Paris airshow at the MANTIC test facility near Laguna, New Mexico.

"The first untethered flight of Honeywell's Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) is a major milestone in the completion of test flights before delivery to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and US Army," says Vaughn Fulton, Honeywell Unmanned Aerial Systems program manager. "The air vehicle performed as planned, executing a fully autonomous take-off, waypoint translations and landing."

The MAV is small enough for a foot soldier to carry on his back and is equipped with forward- and downward-looking video cameras that relay information to a remote ground station video terminal.

The camera suite can be configured with either electro-optical cameras for daylight operations, or infrared cameras for night.

The air vehicle is designed to provide soldiers with improved situational awareness without exposing them to enemy fire. The vehicles can be used for reconnaissance, security and target acquisition in open, rolling, complex and urban terrain.

Developed as part of the DARPA MAV Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration programme, the MAV is considered a top contender for the Future Combat Systems (FCS) Class I family of vehicles.


Source: Flight Daily News