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Urban kicks off hunt for Mule medevac UAV partners

Israel-based manufacturer looks to help develop unmanned transporter for Pentagon

Israel’s Urban Aeronautics is seeking partners to develop an unmanned air vehicle offered in response to a US Department of Defense request for information on a medical supply and evacuation UAV. Urban’s Mule, projected to cost $1.5 million, will have a maximum take-off weight of 1,090kg (2,400lb) and a top speed of 100kt (185km/h) on its 650hp (485kW) engine. The vehicle will be 5.8m (19ft) long, 2.2m wide and 1.8m high, and two Mules could fit into a Sikorsky CH-53E for transport to the combat zone.

Flying autonomously, the Mule could carry 227kg of fuel for a 2h flight with a maximum altitude of 8,000ft. Depending on mission profile, endurance could be up to 4h. Although payload capacity is 454kg, the vehicle would normally be expected to carry two wounded soldiers with a maximum weight of 227kg. “Its speed will be achieved by the use of adjustable louvres on the front and rear of the vehicle and vanes in the intake and exit of the ducts,” says Urban Aeronautics president Rafi Yoeli.

The same technologies will be used on the company’s manned X-Hawk.  Yoel expects a fly-by-wire flight control system to enable precise control and positioning for safe manoeuvring and landings on uneven terrain and in obstructed areas. Urban and Bell Helicopter are currently exploring the potential for a US military demonstration of the manned X-Hawk.

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