Cormorant UAV Undergoes Engine Upgrade Getting One Step Closer to Production
As Tactical Robotics Ltd. (TRL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Urban Aeronautics, ramps up to Full Scale Development and delivery of its Cormorant cargo and medical evacuation UAV, we are proud to announce that we are in the process of installing one of the most advanced and reliable helicopter engines in the world: Safran Helicopter Engines Arriel 2. The additional power that the Arriel 2 oﬀers over the currently installed Arriel 1D1 will enable operation at full load even in hot summer days and will enable an increase in cruise speed and load carrying capability. This shift to Arriel 2 power takes the Cormorant from its current status as a Technology Demonstrator one step closer to its ﬁnal, production conﬁguration.
Dr. Raﬁ Yoeli, TRL’s President and CEO, says, “We have been privileged to work with Safran Helicopter Engines from virtually the earliest days of our technology development at Urban Aeronautics. In September 2016, we have signed with Safran Helicopter Engines a Memorandum of Understanding to study new market opportunities and address power system solutions to support the development of new platforms featuring internal rotor system. I have no doubt that Safran will maintain its leadership in propulsion technology for vertical lift for decades to come and we are proud to play a part in that pursuit.”
Eric Salaun Key Account Director of Safran Helicopter Engines adds, “Tactical Robotics’ Cormorant UAV and Urban Aeronautics’ follow-on, manned Fancraft™ variants have the potential to generate “game-changing” VTOL capabilities. We view our collaboration as an opportunity to participate in the development of one of the most promising, innovative, VTOL conﬁgurations we have come across.”
The production Cormorant will be powered by the Arriel 2N engine. The aircraft will be able to haul hundreds of kilograms of cargo in a single sortie to any location, including rugged terrain and obstructed or urban areas. Cormorant is the ﬁrst UAV designed in accordance with FAA passenger carrying certiﬁcation standards in order to be able to transport casualties or others needing evacuation from access challenged locations. Flight to the objective and back will be autonomous, with the vehicle following a pre-planned path as demonstrated by the company in its ﬂight tests earlier in 2017.
TRL expects to make its ﬁrst deliveries of Cormorant UAVs to a launch customer in 2021 or earlier.
Safran is an international high-technology group and tier-1 supplier of systems and equipment in the Aerospace and Defense markets. Operating worldwide, Safran has nearly 58,000 employees and generated sales of 15.8 billion euros in 2016. Safran is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange, and its share is part of the CAC 40 and Euro Stoxx 50 indices. Safran Helicopter Engines is the world’s leading manufacturer of helicopter engines, with more than 72,000 produced since being founded. It offers the widest range of helicopter turboshafts in the world and has more than 2,500 customers in 155 countries.
Urban Aeronautics is the pioneer in developing unmanned and manned, internal-rotor, VTOL aircraft based on the Company's proprietary Fancraft™ technology. The Company operates through two subsidiaries: Tactical Robotics Ltd., which develops unmanned VTOL aircraft primarily for military utility and cargo missions, and Metro Skyways Ltd., which develops manned VTOL aircraft primarily for civilian Air-Taxi and Air-Rescue roles.
In May, officers of the IDF Medical Corps delivered and installed a special medical dummy and monitoring equipment designed to simulate and generate basic data regarding actual patient conditions during casualty evacuation. Together with the Medical Corps, we are preparing Cormorant for the critical mission of saving lives.
Our flight test program continues to refine the flight control and handling qualities of the aircraft while gradually increasing its speed. Here you will see improved stability during the takeoff and throughout the flight. You can also see that during landing the aircraft is autonomously identifying a marker on the tarmac and accurately landing alongside of it. Currently the marker is a painted plate which will soon be replaced by a small flare.