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Honeywell Begins Flight Tests Of New 13-Inch UAV

Honeywell announced last Thursday that it has begun flight testing a new 13-inch autonomous surveillance aircraft that a foot soldier can carry on his back.

"The flight tests are demonstrating that this aircraft performs as designed and will provide intelligence on enemy activity without risking the lives of human pilots or ground reconnaissance teams," said Vaughn Fulton, Honeywell Unmanned Aerial Systems Program Manager.

Honeywell is developing the aircraft, called the Micro Air Vehicle (MAV), for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as part of its Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) program.

Flight tests will continue through March at Honeywell's facility in Albuquerque. In April, Honeywell will begin delivery of prototype systems to the Army for initial experimentation.

Called a ducted fan air vehicle, the MAV flies like a helicopter, using a propeller that draws in air through a duct to provide lift. The MAV's propeller is enclosed in the duct and is driven by a gasoline engine.

A heavy fuel engine variant of the MAV will be available in 2006. The MAV is controlled using Honeywell's micro-electrical mechanical systems (MEMS) electronic sensor technology.

The micro air vehicle may become part of the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems program as the "hover and stare" Class I Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System.

Honeywell is the prime contractor developing the MAV along with subcontractors AAI Corp. for the airframe, AVID for modeling and simulation, and Techsburg for testing and acoustics.

Last month, DARPA awarded this team a contract to develop the OAV II, a larger air vehicle to gather and transmit battlefield data.

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