A prototype vehicle that can transition from rotary-wing to fixed-wing mode is to be test flown in 2009 under Spain's Helicopter Adaptive Aircraft (HADA) project, part of the Platino national unmanned air vehicle research programme.

Begun in November 2006 and funded by the Spanish ministries of defence and education and science, the HADA vehicle is described as a vertical take-off and landing morphing aircraft. It would land, hover and take off like a helicopter, but stop its rotor and deploy a wing to cruise as a fixed-wing vehicle.

The prototype will be a VTOL unmanned rotorcraft for security and intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance missions, with a maximum take-off weight of 380kg (836lb), a payload of 100kg, an endurance exceeding 6h and a maximum speed of 230kt (425km/h). For the cruise, the vehicle's rotor blades would be folded in line with the fuselage and a 6m (19.6ft)-span wing unfolded .

Further development would involve a 19-passenger, 555km [300nm]-range regional aircraft, according to HADA project literature.

With more than 40 companies and 15 research centres involved, the prime contractor is Madrid-based Aries Complex while the project is managed by national aerospace technical institute INTA. Other participants include the Bilbao-based Aeronautical Technologies Centre, Tecnalia Aerospace, Isdefe and Ingenieros.

Platino has five projects, including HADA. The others are Sata, an automatic landing system Sanas, an advanced sense-and-avoid system Cobor, for on-board optical communications and Minisara, a miniature synthetic-aperture radar.

Morphing aircraft
©Flight Interactive - Tim Bicheno-Brown 
The prototype will be a vertical take-off and landing unmanned rotorcraft


Source: Flight International