The AirMule, a car-sized vertical take-off aircraft has completed its first full untethered test flight at Megiddo in Northern Israel. The AirMule, which can rescue wounded soldiers and drop supplies for troops, is being developed by Israeli company Urban Aeronautics unit Tactical Robotics Ltd.
Urban Aeronautics CEO Rafi Yoeli told "Defense Update," "All in all, we expect that in 2016 we will finally be able to demonstrate some of AirMule's unique capabilities. With close to 200 flights on the AirMule prototype we are confident that this capability can be fielded in just a few years."
The prototype has taken just two years to develop despite a major setback during 2015 when the plane was damaged during what the company describes as a "ground incident," putting back the development schedule by two months. During this time, the company installed new safety features and equipment, and then convinced Israel's Civil Aviation Authority to approve untethered flights.
Yavne-based Urban Aeronautics has also been awarded 'category 2' certification for an export version of the aircraft known as 'Cormorant', under the international Missile Technology Control Regime (MCTR), an international standard that is an important element in the eventual marketing of the aircraft.
The testing schedule in Megiddo in the coming months includes plans for a demonstration of AirMule's cargo delivery capability as well as a 'beyond the line of sight' flight along a path running through an adjacent, forested area.
The AirMule weighs about one-ton and can travel at speeds of up to 115 mph at altitudes of 18,000 feet. It is designed to carry 1,000 pounds for 30 miles, which means it could transport 13,000 pounds in a full day. Its size and ability to take off and land vertically means it will be able to reach location inaccessible to helicopters. The AirMule can be flown independently or by remote control.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 6, 2016
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