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Aurora Excalibur unmanned aircraft makes first flight with Rockwell Collins flight controls

12th August 2009 - 15:55 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


The Rockwell Collins Athena 511 flight control and navigation system recently played a key role in the successful first hover flight of Aurora Flight Sciences' Excalibur Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).

The Excalibur vertical take off and landing (VTOL) UAS was developed under a contract with the US Army's Aviation Technology Directorate and flight tested at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland on June 24. Excalibur is a revolutionary hybrid electric-powered UAS designed to carry small precision munitions to support forward deployed units requiring strike capability.

During the flight test, the aircraft utilized Rockwell Collins' Athena 511 small form factor flight control and navigation system to autonomously take off, execute heading control test points and land. Additional flight tests with increasingly longer durations and more complex flight profiles are planned later this calendar year.

"We are pleased with the performance of the system and the dedication of the Rockwell Collins team during this program and in preparation of the Excalibur's first flight," said Dr. John Langford, Aurora's CEO.

"Aurora continues to develop some of the most cutting edge UAS technology in the industry as demonstrated with Excalibur," said Dr. David Vos, senior director of Unmanned Airborne Systems and Control Technologies for Rockwell Collins. "We've had a very successful relationship with Aurora for the past decade, which should lead to further collaboration and advancement in UAS flight control systems in the years to come."

The Athena 511 is a member of the Rockwell Collins Athena product line of highly sophisticated, compact and affordable flight control, INS, GPS, air data, attitude, heading, reference system with well over 300,000 operational flight hours.


The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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