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Lockheed unveils longer-endurance Fury UAV

Lockheed Martin has tweaked the design of the flying wing-shaped Fury unmanned air vehicle (UAV) as it pursues contracts from US special operations forces and the international market.

The Block 10 update of the five-year-old Fury design adds a wider-chord and longer-span airfoil to increase endurance, especially when flying at low speeds, says Jay McConville, a Lockheed business development director.

The centre wingbox of the 136kg (300lb)-class UAS also is tweaked to make it easier integrate new and heavier sensors, he says, along with more reliable components.

The Fury was originally launched in 2010 by a start-up company called AeroMech, which had designed the Desert Hawk UAS on behalf of Lockheed. AeroMech was later acquired by Chandler/May, which, in turn, was acquired by Lockheed.

In the specrum of UAS capabilities, the Fury falls between the tactical Insitu RQ-21 Blackjack and the brigade-level AAI RQ-7 Shadow. It is initially proposed as a surveillance asset for special operations, which is preparing to release a draft solicitation for the mid-endurance UAS programme.

“We think Fury would bring a great capability to that customer set,” McConville says.

Since the acquisition, Lockheed has unveiled two major performance upgrade. The first design added a beyond line of sight communications antenna, allowing the aircraft to communicate with a ground control station to take advantage of its claimed 15h endurance.

So far, the Fury has not been sold to foreign customers, but Lockheed believes the design is exportable.

“We have export marketing licenses for a variety of customers around the world,” McConville says.

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