Vector Hawk joins Lockheed's sUAS family

18 May 2014

Lockheed Martin has expanded its small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) family with the introduction of the Vector Hawk. Coming in a number of variants, Lockheed says the aircraft is suitable for a wide variety of different missions thanks to its ability to be rapidly reconfigured in the field.

The Vector Hawk is designed as a modular platform that can switch between fixed-wing, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), and tilt-rotor configurations. The fixed-wing variants can be either hand launched or, by folding the wings back, launched from a tube, while the VTOL and tilt-rotor variants can be launched from land or a water surface. The tilt-rotor variant is also able to transition to fixed wing flight in the air. The different configurations are also able to share common payloads.

The aircraft boasts a vertical profile of 4 in (10 cm) and a gross takeoff weight of 4 lb (1.8 kg), with the ability to carry payloads of 0.75 lb (340 g). It is capable of fully autonomous flight and landing, with a data link provided by high bandwidth software defined radio and mesh networking, including 3G, 4G and LTE cellular. Lockheed says it is also inaudible at operational slant ranges and is waterproof, allowing it to be used in a range of weather conditions and at sea.

The Vector Hawk was unveiled at the AUVSI 2014 convention in Florida this week, where Lockheed Martin business development manager told Defense Update that the fixed wing variant has a cruising speed of 30 knots (35 mph/56 km/h) and a dash speed of 70 knots (80 mph/130 km/h), while the tilt-rotor variant can achieve dash speeds of 50 knots (58 mph/93 km/h), with the ability to hover and fly inverted.

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