Australian unmanned air vehicle systems manufacturer Aerosonde has unveiled a new lightweight version of its Aerosonde Mk3 UAV but further changes are being reviewed with marketing partner Lockheed Martin.

Aerosonde Big

Modular wing, fuselage and tail structures for the new Mk3.2 unmanned aircraft will be constructed from pre-impregnated carbonfibre composite materials and autoclaved for increased strength. New Lockheed proposals being studied include adding winglets to improve aerodynamic efficiency.

Aerosonde chief operating officer Greg Tyrrell says the changes are expected to allow faster production.

According to Bill Murtha, head of unmanned air systems activity at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, the joint Aerosonde airframe optimisation effort is aimed at extending the endurance of the aircraft to “maybe in excess of 40h”. The reduction in overall weight is expected to increase payload capacity. Other Lockheed inputs could include new piloting and mission management systems.

Aerosonde North America and Lockheed Martin earlier this year were selected for the US Air Force’s Weather Scout meteorological monitoring programme, with first flights taking place on 8 August.


Source: Flight International