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

Period of Performance: 06/11/2009 - 06/11/2011


Phase 2 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 VEhicle Lightweight Towing Equipment (SVELTE) system to enable small aircraft and UAVs to deploy and tow magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) sensors with highly stable sensor attitude. In our Phase I effort, we met the challenging weight and stability requirements by developing a novel orbital winch mechanism, designing and prototyping a lightweight towing cable and a design for an actively controlled tow body. In the Phase II effort, we propose to design, build, and test engineering-model prototypes of winch, cable, and tow body, and then perform end-to-end testing of an integrated MAD Sensor Towing system. The development and validation work performed in the Phase II effort will mature the SVELTE MAD Tow System to an advanced engineering model level ready for integration and testing on the suitable testbed aircraft in follow-on Phase III efforts.