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Special Operations

Flexrotor undergoes SOCOM reliability tests

27th January 2021 - 16:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Demonstration of UAS included accelerated cycling.

The latest variant of the Flexrotor Group 2 VTOL UAS from Aerovel has completed a series of reliability tests for US Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

US-based Aerovel announced on 26 January that it demonstrated ‘over 150 cycles’ on Flexrotor variant.

The UAS used VTOL to launch, then transitioned to wing-borne flight, climbed to cruise altitude, ‘cruised for a few minutes, and occasionally did a few “transition pairs” when needed for a particular test,’ Aerovel stated.

‘This recent demonstration for SOCOM required accelerated cycling, a challenge Flexrotor was easily able to meet,’ the company claimed.

Aerovel demonstrated over 150 cycles on the latest Flexrotor variant. One Flexrotor aircraft has 102 cycles, predominantly logged over a six-day period. In the past, even when used extensively, the UAS took about 700 flight hours over many months in Afghanistan to accumulate 100 cycles.

The Flexrotor UAS weighs 50lb and can (22.5kg) and can be launched and recovered in constrained spaces. The UAS takes off and lands vertically and can transition easily into horizontal wing-borne flight.

Shephard Defence Insight notes that a typical Flexrotor system comprises three UAVs, a ground control station and associated equipment and costs around $1 million.

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