Exosonic begins trials of UAS testbed for supersonic aerial target programme
US aerospace start-up Exosonic announced on 23 May that it had commenced a ground and flight test programme to validate the capabilities of its EX-3M Trident autonomous, open-architecture, high-speed, developmental UAS.
Design and manufacture of the EX-3M took nine months and the aircraft will serve as a quarter-scale testbed to validate autonomy software that will be incorporated into Exosonic’s full-scale supersonic EX-3 Revenant UAS.
Revenant is a fifth-generation aerial target that Exosonic is designing under a $1.25 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract awarded by the USAF.
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Exosonic is also investigating using an EX-3 variant to serve in the adversary air role.
EX-3M trials commenced with a series of ground taxi tests at the New Cuyama UAS test range in California. These will serve to verify taxi and take-off characteristics ahead of planned Summer 2023 flights to validate vehicle performance and autonomy.
Exosonic CTO and co-founder Timothy MacDonald said: 'We were able to put our aircraft through its paces out in the field and gather some great results. The data will now be analysed, and we’ll move to further ground testing and flight testing.'
After flight testing the company will explore commercial opportunities to leverage the EX-3M as an autonomy testbed or research vehicle to demonstrate USAF critical capabilities.
Exosonic is also in discussions with several commercial entities to demonstrate crewed-uncrewed teaming.
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