AV, FlightWave team to add VTOL tech to small UAS



Things are looking up for AeroVironment in terms of vertical takeoff and landing capabilities planned for a new family of unmanned aircraft.
The company has teamed with FlightWave Aerospace Systems to produce Shrike 2, a new small UAS that can takeoff and land like a quadcopter but transition to forward flight as needed, using FlightWave’s patented Edge VTOL technology.
“We’ll be adding this to family of systems,” says David Sharpin, vice president of the company’s tactical UAS business unit. A small system similar to the one on display in their booth is expected by the end of the year, with two larger variations already in development.
AV has long built small systems that don’t need runways. Adding VTOL capability would enable them to fly like a plane or hover as needed, something the venerable Raven can’t do. The system is also intended to be flexible. It can carry a variety of payloads and the Shrike 2 can also fly without wings, using just its rotors in tri-copter mode.
“The Edge’s novel VTOL technology enables it to take off and land anywhere without the assistance of additional infrastructure, which means there are no limits when it comes to remote locations,” says Edmund Cronin, chief marketing officer at FlightWave Aerospace.
Sharpin says AV had been studying the commercial market for technology it could incorporate and started talking with FlightWave, which led to the partnership announced Tuesday at Xponential.