SVELTE: Lightweight MAD Sensor Towing System for UAVs and Small Helicopters

Period of Performance: 03/27/2008 - 09/27/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Tethers Unlimited, Inc.
11711 N. Creek Pkwy S., Suite D113 Array
Bothell, WA 98011
Principal Investigator


Tethers Unlimited, Inc. (TUI) proposes to develop a small lightweight ASW magnetometer towing system in collaboration with Aerovel Coporation for integration with small aircraft and UAVs. This system will be comprised of a non-magnetic aerodynamic body for the magnetometer, a towing cable that will provide power and receive data from the sensor, and a lightweight winch for deploying and retrieving the cable and sensor. A key element of this system is TUI s novel orbital winch technology, which eliminates the need to use electrical slip rings to enable power and communications to be provided to the remote sensor head, thereby minimizing the mass, complexity, and cost of the overall system. In addition, we propose to integrate inertial sensors and active control surfaces on the towed endbody to meet the towing stability requirements. The combination of TUI s extensive experience in systems for deployment of cables in extreme environments, along with Aerovel Corporation s UAV and miniature aircraft technologies and expertise, will enable our team to develop a towing system that meets the program requirements with minimal technical risks.