Development of a Fixed-Wing Squad-Level Reconnaissance Micro Air Vehicle (MAV)

Period of Performance: 03/24/1998 - 06/30/2000


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Aerovironment, Inc.
181 W. Huntington Drive, Suite 202
Monrovia, CA 91016
Principal Investigator


In Phase I, we fabricated and successfully flight tested a series of integrated prototype MAVs. Over 90 flights were made with agile flight control, up to two minutes duration, sufficient to provide a modest but useful range of 1/3 kilometer. We concluded that a baseline, 15-cm diameter, disc-shaped, fixed-wing MAV has the overall best potential for achieving one DARPA mission goal in range, endurance and loiter requirements for the over-the-hill scenario. The goal of our Phase II program is to apply readily available, inexpensive technologies to produce MAVs within 12 months that can achieve ten minute reconnaissance missions using electric propulsion, black and white video downlink, automatic launch, and a one kilometer operational radius. Starting with the successful MAVs produced in Phase I, our continuous improvement plan will incrementally miniaturize the sub-system components and optimize the aerodynamic and propulsion system efficiencies, while keeping the MAV in a flyable state. In 24 months, we expect to achieve 20 minute controlled flights, using electric propulsion, color video downlink, automatic launch, compass based navigation, and achieve three kilometer operational radius. A high reliability, low-cost, soldier-proof system is achievable within 3 years.