Maryland-based North Eastern Aeronautical (Neany) is planning to carry out the first fully autonomous flights of its new Arrow LT200 blended wing body unmanned air vehicle late this year following initial remotely controlled sorties in May.

The new UAV is being pitched at emerging niche surveillance requirements by the US military, drawing heavily on systems originally developed by Neany for its Arrow unmanned version of the Titan Aircraft Tornado 912 kitplane. However, emerging homeland security requirements in the USA are also being explored as a focus as development advances.

Neany arrow

Neany unveiled the LT200 configuration at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International's Unmanned Systems North America exhibition in Washington in early August.

Neany president Steve Steptoe says work on the blended wing body design began midway through 2006 as a self-funded successor effort to the US Special Operations Command-financed Arrow development programme. He says the configuration was chosen to maximise payload capability.

The all-composite LT200 has a span of just under 4m (13ft), including vertical winglets, and is 2.13m in length. The airframe dismantles into five modules for transport and storage.

A 710 x 710 x 300mm (28 x 28 x 12in) payload bay capable of carrying 32kg (70lb) is mounted centrally in the airframe. The lower wing surface is capable of being manufactured as a large communications antenna array, says Steptoe.

The type is expected to have an endurance of around 20h and a cruise speed of 90kt (165km/h). Propulsion is provided by a pusher propeller driven by a UEL rotary engine. The UAV will have a retractable undercarriage, although the demonstrator has fixed gear.

The LT200 will use most of the same avionics, autopilot and control links developed for the Arrow, as well as that ground station for that type, says Steptoe. The porting process is under way and completion is targeted within four months to allow for autonomous flight testing to start. Windtunnel testing of the full-scale demonstrator is also planned to start within next two months.

Source: Flight International