Monday, 19 January 2009

T-Hawk: the latest addition to a soldier's backpack

The Army is set to purchase a number of T-Hawk Micro Air Vehicles (MAV) from the US. The "hover-and-stare" robots are small enough and light enough (14lbs) to be carried in a backpack and can be deployed within minutes. They fly like mini-helicopters with a ducted fan that provides virtical take-off and landing capability.At speeds up to 50mph and carrying both day and night cameras, these drones operate at between 100 to 500 feet and provide the troops on the ground with a real-time bird's-eye view of the surrounding terrain. The five T-Hawks purchased by the MoD will operate at platoon level and will initially be used for checking suspicious objects and sniffing out ambushes ahead of ground movements.

The Register has been told by the MoD that the T-Hawk purchase is part of the Urgent Operational Requirement package announced last October which, while mostly focused on new armoured and protected vehicles for use in Afghanistan, also included a £96m "route proving and clearing capability, known as Talisman ...applying technology to the challenge of transiting routes and dealing with high-risk areas".

The Register: Brit forces get hoverstare ducted-fan droid
Aviation Week: UK Orders T-Hawk MAVs
Honeywell Aerospace: Micro Air Vehicle