Aircraft

Flight tests of Lockheed's Fury drone heat up ahead of production

Lockheed Martin's Fury drone - a Group 3 military UAS
Lockheed Martin's Fury drone - a Group 3 military UAS
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Lockheed Martin's Fury drone - a Group 3 military UAS
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Lockheed Martin's Fury drone - a Group 3 military UAS

Over a series of flight tests in the last 12 months, Lockheed Martin's Fury drone has demonstrated a reliable ability to fly for more than 12 hours at a time. Built for electronic surveillance, recon, intelligence and communication link missions, flight tests of the Group 3 Unmanned Air System have recently been ramped up ahead of low-rate production.

With a quiet pusher propeller and 17-foot (5.2 m) wide blended wingspan, the Fury is designed for a minimum visual signature as it carries fuel/payload combinations up to 200 lb (91 kg).

It doesn't need a runway to launch or land – instead, it's fired into the air by an extending mobile catapult that hooks to the back of ground vehicles as a trailer.

To land the thing, you use an "expeditionary recovery system," which appears to be aerospace jargon for "fly it into a big net." DARPA is also working on a clever system it calls the SideArm, which can both launch and retrieve the Fury on a hook-and-rail crane.

The Fury's big selling point is its endurance. It can fly for up to 15 hours and a consistently proven 12 hours, carrying multiple powered payloads that would typically require a bigger, heavier Group 4 drone like the Predator, which needs a 5,000 foot runway to get airborne.

Smaller, cheaper and more portable, the Fury could start taking some of the lower end missions off Group 4 drones. Lockheed Martin is ramping up to low-run production in the coming months, and preparing to scale up.

Check out the video below.

Fury UAS Bridges the Gap Between Tactical and Strategic

Source: Lockheed Martin

7 comments
StephenMarsh
Didn't some other guys come up with the idea of launching a plane with a catapult? Cant seem to remember their names.......
ezeflyer
Spending taxpayers money on drones that spy on and kill people instead of on things that make our lives better seems like such a waste.
Daishi
@ezeflyer GPS was a US military creation and now it's nearly a fundamental necessity for all kinds of other things. The Internet was a US department of defense creation. NASA launched the first communications satellite but they are like the PR branch of the DoD anyway and there was tons of defense/military investment in them. The telegraph was a military invention. Radar had military roots and heat from it was how the microwave oven was invented. The US government funded the first satellite imagery which we use for maps today. The jet engine is another technology with mostly military roots. Nuclear power is a another technology with a lot of military origin. Militaries can kill each other with or without technology but civilization has benefited greatly from a lot of military advancements. We've had bloody wars and atrocity for all of human history long before I had a smart phone and could travel thousands of miles for $100.
BGriffin
"...Designed with a quiet pusher propeller..." Pusher comfigurations are infamously noise. Chopping through already disturbed air, instead of clean air out front usually adds significant pressure pulses. Pusher configurations can be very efficient, but to be quiet would be an inpressive feat.
JimFox
"Quiet pusher propellor" - odd terminology, surely engine noise is far greater than any propellor- unless it's electric. Also, quiet relative to what?
JimFox
http://www.hirth-engines.de/index.php/de/ Possibly this is the engine driving the 'quiet' propellor? 2-strokes are far noisier than other ICE's, so...
MD
Jimfox: Propeller noise is a significant part of the noise generated by all propeller propulsed aircraft.