Vector Hawk joins Lockheed's sUAS family

Published - 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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Lehmann Aviation updates its GoPro-toting LA100 drone

Published - 26 Mar 2014

A couple of years ago, France’s Lehmann Aviation introduced its LA100, a fully autonomous fixed-wing UAV designed to carry a user-supplied GoPro Hero camera. Now, the company has announced the LA100 Version2, which features Wi-Fi connectivity and a new Windows Phone 8-based OperationCenter control interface app.

Like the original LA100 that it's replacing, the Version2 is designed for users who want to perform aerial photography and/or mapping, but who have little or no previous experience with UAVs. To use it, they program in a flight path, hand-launch the aircraft, then just sit back and wait as it follows that path, snapping stills or video as it does so.

While they previously had to use a PC or laptop to program the flight path, however, users can now do so on a Windows Phone 8 smartphone or tablet. This makes it less cumbersome to simply choose a flight path on location, instead of drawing one up in advance.

The addition of Wi-Fi means that via the OperationCenter app, users can also check the drone's progress and systems (including its battery level) in real time, as it's in flight.

The Version2's specs are pretty much identical to those of the original LA100, which can be found in our previous article on that model. The price is also still the same, at €990 (about US$1,370). If you want something that can go a little farther, you might be more interested in the LA200 and LA300 models.

Check out the video below to see a brief demo of the OperationCenter app.

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