WARRENTON, Va., 13 Dec. 2006. Athena Technologies' GuideStar flight control and navigation system has contributed to the successful first flight of Aurora Flight Sciences' GoldenEye 80 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The design and embedded capabilities of the GoldenEye 80 enable the UAV to be used for a variety of military missions, from conducting surveillance beyond hills in rural areas to gathering intelligence while flying between buildings in urban warfare operations.
The GoldenEye 80 is being developed under contract to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through its Organic Air Vehicle (OAV-II) program, which has responsibility for the development of UAVs to support small military groups conducting tactical missions.
Standing 65 inches tall and weighing roughly 150 pounds, the ducted fan UAV takes off and lands vertically but can also transition to horizontal flight using wings. The flight marked an industry milestone as GoldenEye 80 became the first ducted fan UAV to fly under the power of a heavy fuel engine. Heavy fuel engines enable an aircraft to conveniently use common military fuel.
The GoldenEye 80 utilizes Athena's GuideStar 111m miniaturized flight control and navigation system that weighs 0.5 lb. and is the same size as a cell phone. The GuideStar 111m enables the GoldenEye 80 to fly autonomously, avoiding the need of a pilot. In addition to providing flight control and navigation during vertical take off and landing and horizontal flight, the GuideStar provides autonomous obstacle avoidance through dynamic rerouting around buildings and other structures.