Long Endurance Autonomous
Powered Paraglider (LEAPP) / Altair
A concept for a Long Endurance Autonomous Powered Paraglider
(LEAPP) is developed under a DARPA program demonstrating a cost
effective alternative for fixed wing, long endurance loitering
ISR capability. The system is developed by Altair. LEAPP was
unveiled at the International Special Operations Forces Week
this year, and was shown at AUSA 2006 in its full configuration.
The parafoil system will be capable of loitering over an area
for periods of up to 48 hours.
Altair is considering LEAPP to
address various missions with three categories. The largest
version will be a slow flying long endurance platform, which
could accommodate two men, and be ground transported by a HMMWV.
The system will use the largest paraglider wing ever built,
spanning over 112 ft. (34 m') The vehicle will be able to take
off from a ground clearing of 50 – 100 ft (15 –
30 m') or air dropped from C-130 or C-17 from an altitude of
35,000 ft. (10.5 km). LEAPP will be able to stay on a mission
for 48 hours and carry mission payloads of up to 200 lbs, in
addition to 2,145 lbs (972 kg) of fuel.
A smaller version (LEAPP Type II) will be optimized for shorter
missions (u to 24 hours). It will have a gross maximum takeoff
of 1,550 lbs (703 kg), compared to 3,000 (1.4 tons) for Type
I. It will also be operated as piloted/pilotless
autonomous, and will be able to carry 200 lbs (90.7 kg) of mission
payload but significantly less fuel.
The Micro LEAPP (Type III) is a much smaller vehicle, with
a maximum gross weight of 75 lbs (34 kg), it will have a payload
capacity of 30 lbs (13.6 kg), and mission endurance of four
hours. The vehicle can be launched and operated by a single
operator. For takeoff, Micro LEAPP requires only 5 – 10
meters of clear surface.