Ultralightweight Airframe Concepts for Air-launched Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

Period of Performance: 07/23/2015 - 04/13/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Piasecki Aircraft Corp.
519 West Second Street P.O. Box 360
Essington, PA 19029
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT:Air-launched UAVs are a solution to augment future air dominance needs. The UAVs will be required to perform weapons delivery and RF functions, including wide-area search and track, signals intelligence, electronic warfare, and communications functions. The UAVs will be carried in, and launched from a mothership and possess the range capability to return to a safe recovery point. Innovative low cost aerostructural designs that efficiently integrate RF antennas into the primary aircraft structure offers potential to achieve mission objectives at reduced weight and drag. ??Phase I objective is to produce a conceptual design of an air launched ISR UAV including reconfiguration concept, structural arrangement, adaptive structure concepts and antenna integration definition. ?Antenna performance projections are also developed.BENEFIT:Ultra lightweight aero-structures that integrate lightweight low cost RF antennas represents a significant value to multiple government agencies, military branches, and foreign countries and civilian users when applied to air, land and marine vehicles. ?For UAV missions, the ability to reconfigure from air-launch configuration to efficient cruise and loiter configurations coupled with a large adaptive wing will improve mission performance for a range of missions including ISR and weapons delivery. Anticipated cost savings and performance increases contribute to enhanced warfighter and civil value.