Flexrotor UAV scheduled for flight control upgrade

The Office of Naval Research has awarded Aerovel a contract to develop the flight controls component for the Flexrotor vertical take-off-and-landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that will enable it to transition from vertical to cruising flight and to land in crosswinds and high winds, the agency announced April 30.

Flexrotor features an oversized propeller with helicopter-like controls for VTOL and the wings of a conventional aircraft, the story said. It is designed to take off and land vertically, but fly horizontally.

The small UAV, which passed a crucial milestone in August 2011 when it successfully transitioned from horizontal to vertical flight and back again, is being developed to give the Navy and Marine Corps the ability to conduct maritime surveillance from a ship with a small footprint, the story said.

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