|Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Part 1||- Unmanned Aircraft Part 1|
InView IV-05 prior to take-off
The Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) consists of an Unmanned Aircraft (UA) which is essentially a robot plane togther with a Ground Control System (GCS). The Unmanned Aircraft contains a flight control computer, precision navigation (GPS and an Inertial Measurement Unit) and flight control electronics, a low vibration engine (such as a Wankel engine) and a payload, such as a high resolution camera. The UA represents a new, cost effective and more environmentally responsible approach to aerial reconnaissance and geophysical survey work.
Any aerial application, in which the payload weighs less than an average adult male (say 85 Kgs, although the US military allows a “worst case”soldier weight of 136 Kgs) could be performed less expensively and in a more environmentally friendly way, through the use of an Unmanned Air Vehicle.
Unmanned Aircraft have an historical military presence, in the form of the German V1 flying bomb of Second World War vintage, followed by the modern turbine-powered cruise missile, such as the US Tomahawk cruisemissile shown below, made by Raytheon. There are also some differences between the V1, the cruise missile and the UAV: the Unmanned Aircraft returns for reuse. The early civilian Unmanned Aircraft was in essence a radio controlled aeroplane.
Characteristics of the above vehicles
An important parameter for military Unmanned Aircraft is their endurance time, whereas a prime parameter for civilian Unmanned Aircraft, especially those in use on survey work, is their range. For more interesting information on the history of Unmanned Aircraft, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_unmanned_aerial_vehicles
The inexpensive Unmanned Aircraft can criss-cross a region, or, repeatedly patrol an area, for up to 30 hours at a time, under computer control, day and night, under almost any weather condition, in an environmentally sustainable manner. This makes it a compelling solution for all manner of aerial reconnaissance and geophysical survey work. A comprehensive overview of Unmanned Aircraft is provided in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unmanned_aerial_vehicle .
Note the tremendous flight endurance for Unmanned Aircraft.