Boeing’s A160T Hummingbird UAV has successfully completed a simulated mission test proving the unmanned rotorcraft’s ability to resupply frontline troops in rough terrain. The demonstration saw the A160T carry 1,250-pound sling loads over two 150-nautical-mile round trips operating autonomously on a pre-programmed mission. The demonstration proved the craft is capable of delivering at least 2,500 pounds of cargo from one simulated forward-operating base to another 75 nautical miles away in well under the required six hours.
The A160T completed seven test flights during the demonstration, including a two-minute hover at 12,000 feet with the 1,250-pound sling load, and a nighttime delivery to a simulated forward operating base. Boeing says the A160T's ability to execute extremely accurate autonomous deliveries also was demonstrated.
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"The Hummingbird's performance was outstanding, as we had expected," said Vic Sweberg, director of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Boeing Military Aircraft. "The A160T's capabilities can fulfill our customer's near-term need for 24/7, reliable cargo resupply. It also provides unmatched flexibility to carry out a variety of other missions, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; target acquisition; direct action; and communication relay."
The A160T has a 2,500-pound payload capacity. It features a unique optimum-speed-rotor technology that significantly improves overall performance efficiency by adjusting the rotor's speed at different altitudes, gross weights and cruise speeds. The autonomous unmanned aircraft, measuring 35 feet long with a 36-foot rotor diameter, has hovered at 20,000 feet and cruised at more than 140 knots.
The unmanned chopper established a world endurance record in its class in 2008 with an 18.7-hour unrefueled flight.View gallery - 2 images