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PICTURES: AirMule UAV gains wheels for STOVL operations

Urban Aeronautics' AirMule ducted fan craft has been equipped with a wheeled landing gear to facilitate ground manoeuvring and to enable the unmanned air vehicle to perform short take-off and vertical landing operations.

The Israeli company's prototype AirMule has recently been undergoing a systems upgrade, after having performed 40 test hovers and accumulated 10h of flight time.


Both images © Urban Aeronautics

The upgrade activity has included the development and installation of the wheeled landing gear, which when used in STOVL mode has the potential to nearly double the aircraft's payload capacity.

According to information previously released by the company, a skid-equipped AirMule has a maximum take-off weight of 1,090kg (2,400lb), including a mission payload of around 400kg.

The AirMule is equipped with internal lift rotors and has a small footprint, qualities that make it suitable for vertical mobility in urban environments. The aircraft has multiple-mission capabilities, although the current emphasis is on unmanned casualty evacuation and cargo resupply tasks.

Urban Aeronautics plans to resume flight tests with its prototype AirMule before year-end.

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