The device resembles a large car without windows. Two small propellers keeled backwards betray the character “flying” from the AirMule. It is a military drone whose goal is to carry a load that can reach up to 500 kg and two wounded without the constraints of the helicopter. No need for a clear landing area, no need driver, the AirMule can deliver everywhere, even taken under enemy fire.
The cargo AirMule drone flies finally unfettered
More than 10 years! It took more than 10 years that the AirMule finally take air without being impeded by a cable. The first trace of this weird contraption goes back to 2004. The Israeli Urban Aeronautics had this concept of device a vertical take-off able to arise in a street with an original mode of propulsion: two adjustable blowers located in the fuselage. This technical solution allows it to get a grip on the ground much lower than that of the rotor of a helicopter. The formula had already been tested in the 1950s by the Piasecki VZ – 8 Airgeep American but this time the AirMule happens driver.
If Urban Aeronautics and its subsidiary Tactical Robotics Ltd offers this drone on the civil (under the name Cormorant) and military market (AirMule), the latter which seems the most promising at the moment. The U.S. Army has used drones to resupply its troops in Afghanistan with the K-Max dronized helicopter.
Driven by a Turbomeca Arriel 2N of 985 hp turbine, the drone weighs 918 kg empty and 1.682 kg at full load. According to figures from its constructor, it will be capable of carrying 400 kg to 300 km. With 500 kg for 50 km, a fleet of 10 to 12 AirMule could refuel 3,000 soldiers, bringing the wounded to the return trip.
It is clear that there is a potential market for the AirMule, more than 10 years after the launch of the project and multiple vicissitudes, the drone is still far from entering into service.
Translation : Bing Translator
Source :“AirMule successfully completed its first autonomous, untethered flight”, Tactical Robotics press release, December 30, 2015