By S.L. Fuller | October 2, 2017
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has successfully completed a proof of concept for an unmanned helicopter, the manufacturer said. Called the “Air Hopper,” the drone would supply logistics supplies in military applications.
Air Hopper completed two scenarios during its demonstration. One simulation had the drone carrying a seriously wounded soldier to an extraction point, airborne monitoring of vital signs and real-time dispatch to the ground. The other simulated carrying logistic supplies to an isolated force at the front line, which could not be accessed otherwise without risk.
The drone has a payload of up to nearly 400 pounds, flight time of two hours and speed of up to nearly 15 mph. IAI said the drone is powered by an internal combustion engine, which uses 95-octane fuel. It features open architecture, making it compatible with a range of platforms, the company said. The control system can also manage other operational capabilities such as vehicle control, real time planning and updating of routes, updating the convoy's behavior attributes, real-time receipt of mission data and a data communication system that allows it to communicate with the vehicles, IAI said.
"Both systems proof of concept step is an important milestone for IAI in the world of unmanned vehicles, developing the future battlefield and in offering optimal unmanned operational solutions that minimize the risk to human lives as much as possible,” said Shaul Shahar, corporate VP and general manager of IAI Military Aircraft Group. “I believe these developments will open many doors for us in local and global markets, military and civilian alike."