Urban Aeronautics will soon perform the first flight of an AirMule ducted fan unmanned air system (UAS) fitted with a double-redundant hydraulic system.
The enhancement will allow for uninterrupted rotor pitch control in the event of a failure to one of the pressure supply lines.
The new design underwent full power tests in mid-March, says company president Rafi Yoeli. These included self-induced failures to verify that the automatic failure detection and switch-over to the standby system was performed correctly by the on-board computers.
Yoeli says that a Controp D-Stamp stabilized electro-optical payload was also recently installed on the programme's first prototype air vehicle.
The sensor provides part of the AirMule's auto-land system, which will enable the aircraft to guide itself to land over any high contrast marker in a combat zone. Where a landing site cannot be highlighted by placing a physical marker, a laser spot from an airborne designator could be used.
Urban Aeronautics plans to perform an automatic precision landing demonstration before the end of the year using a second prototype AirMule, which is now in production.
Powered by a Turbomeca Arriel 2 940shp (700kW) engine, this will have a maximum take-off weight of 1,400kg (3,100lb) and offer an endurance of 5h.
The second prototype will also be used to perform a series of flights in southern Israel which, Yoeli says, will be open to viewing by potential customers.