California’s Arcturus UAV believes there are still opportunities in the market for unmanned air systems, despite the overall tough conditions.

Chief executive D’Milo Hallerberg describes the state of the market – particularly in its weight class – as “dreadful” with intense competition for limited military contracts.

However, with a resurgence in terrorism across the world and growing instability in the Middle East, “there has been an increase in demand globally for our size of platform,” he says.

Arcturus recently announced it was pitching the Jump 20C, the latest iteration of its vertical take-off and landing UAV, to the US Special Operations Command for one element of its fee-for-services Medium Endurance Unmanned Air System (MEUAS) III contest.

That requirement is “pretty important” to Arcturus, he says, although other follow-on contracts from unnamed customers have also kept the company’s assembly facility ticking over.

Alongside the launch of the Jump 20C – the C stands for convertible – Arcturus has also been working to marinise the platform.

Work has been conducted on its flight control software and Hallerberg anticipates performing a land-based simulation of a deck landing later this year. Sea trials will follow assuming the success of the initial tests.

“We have three countries saying right now that we can fly on their ships if we have the technology,” he says.

Hallerberg says that VTOL landings aboard ships are the “Holy Grail” as they would remove the “nerve-wracking” recovery methods required with other systems.

The Jump 20M, as it is likely to be called, will additionally have larger battery packs to power its quadrotors, extending the vertical endurance.

Source: Flight Daily News