Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is introducing at Aero-India a new class of aerial vehicles employing a revolutionary three tilting propellers design. This new propulsion concept enables the vehicle to take-off and land vertically, fly at high speed, or hover efficiently for extended period.
By employing two tilt-rotor propellers, and a vertical lift augmenter propeller, providing additional lift and stability for hovering, takeoff and landing. The unique design is optimized for extended missions of several flight hours. The new design is representing a breakthrough in Vertical Take off and Landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) architecture. This configuration enables the aircraft to be runway-independent, taking off and landing from unprepared areas, providing land forces and special operations units at tactical level capabilities commonly associated with much larger platforms.
IAI’s tilt-rotor concept has already been implemented in two tactical unmanned aerial vehicles on display at Aero-India – the Panther and Mini-Panther have already performed test flights. Weighing about 65 kg, the Panther is powered by three electrical motors and packs sufficient power to loiter on missions of up to six hours, at an altitude of 10,000 ft. At this altitude operational radius can exceed 60 km. The Panther carries IAI’s MiniPOP multi-sensor electro-optical day-night payload comprising stabilized day and night cameras, laser rangefinder, laser pointer or laser designator. The smaller Mini-Panther is a 12 kg tilt-rotor mini-UAV designed for mission-endurance of two hours. This version operates at lower altitudes and carries the miniature ‘Micro-POP’ EO stabilized payload. Both versions are powered by ultra-quiet electrical motors contributing to the Panther’s stealth capability.
The Panther’s flight control system employs automatic transition flight modes, enabling the Panther to take off, land and transition automatically from forward to vertical flight by a simple click of the operator console, thus eliminating the need for an external pilot.