HUNT VALLEY, Md., 10 Feb. 2006. AAI Corp. has received an order from Honeywell Aerospace for 55 Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) airframes for use in the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Valued at $1.7 million, this funded order extends AAI's current contract with Honeywell for MAV support until November 2006. In this funding phase, AAI will incorporate new design innovations into the airframe and build and deliver 55 of the advanced prototype vehicles for final system integration.
The MAV is a next-generation 13-inch diameter autonomous surveillance aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. It is ruggedly built but is so small and lightweight that it can be carried by an infantryman in a backpack.
"We've been perfecting the unique MAV design for more than four years," said Steve Reid, AAI's vice president of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. "Using innovative technology and material advances, our engineering team has designed an air vehicle capable of fully autonomous flight that is robust, backpackable, and modular."
"The MAV can hover and stare as well as fly at altitudes between sea level and 10,000 feet functioning primarily as a scout in urban environments and difficult mountainous terrain. MAV will keep soldiers out of harm's way by providing them essential tactical information to successfully execute their mission."
In addition to supporting warfighters, the MAV system has potential commercial applications in Homeland Defense, forestry service, law enforcement, and building and bridge inspections.
Called a ducted fan air vehicle, the MAV flies like a helicopter, using a specially designed fan enclosed in a duct that is driven by a gasoline engine. The fan draws air in through the top of the duct and expels it out the bottom to provide thrust. The thrust produced by the duct and fan combination is powerful enough to enable the MAV to hover, as well as fly at speeds up to 50 mph. The MAV is controlled in flight by Honeywell's flight management subsystem and micro-electrical mechanical devices. Honeywell also provides the electronic sensor technology used to observe the tactical situation.
AAI is a designer and manufacturer of tactical unmanned aircraft systems (TUAS), including the Shadow 200 TUAS deployed with U.S. Army units in Operation Iraqi Freedom since 2003. For more information, see www.aaicorp.com.
AAI is a subsidiary of United Industrial Corp., a company that designs, produces, and supports defense systems. UIC's products and services include unmanned aircraft systems, training and simulation systems, automated aircraft test and maintenance equipment, armament systems, logistical and engineering services, and other leading-edge technology solutions for defense needs. The company also manufactures combustion equipment for biomass and refuse fuels. For more information, see www.unitedindustrial.com.