EADS Defence & Security has flown its Sharc unmanned helicopter demonstrator for the first time.
A 200kg-class unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), with a maximum take-off weight of 190kg, Sharc can accommodate a 60kg payload. Tests of electro-optical and infrared sensors are also due to be part of the flight test campaign.
The UAV eliminates the need for a tail rotor by using that solution much beloved of the Russian Kamov company, co-axial contra-rotating main rotors. This configuration provides 30% more lift when compared to a conventional helicopter, says EADS.
It also provides greater attitude stability, which will aid one of its main roles, landings on a ship’s deck. The company aims to have Sharc capable of making autonomous take-offs and landings from a deck that is rolling in heavy seas.
Among other innovations in the design, says EADS, is the integration of antennae in the craft’s outer skin. A synthetic aperture radar can also be accommodated.
Projected roles include unmanned reconnaissance and surveillance, aerial target designation and damage control missions.
Source: Flight Daily News