Sikorsky CYPHER II UAV flight trials begin
6 July 2001
The Sikorsky CYPHER II Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) has begun its flight trials, starting on 15 June with its first tethered flight. CYPHER II has since maintained an almost daily test flight schedule. The aircraft is being built for the US Army Night Vision Labs and will be used for testing small sensors next year.
"Sikorsky has performed admirably to achieve first tethered flight on the CYPHER II UAV despite the significant technical challenges typically faced with developmental aircraft," said Gary F. Meyering, Small Unmanned Air Vehicle Project Leader at the Night Vision Lab's Air Systems Division. "This was a considerable milestone and we would like to thank the entire CYPHER II team for its selfless hard work and dedication."
Tethered flight allows the CYPHER II team to limit the flight envelope of the unmanned vehicle. The next milestone will be a free flight scheduled by the end of summer at Sikorsky's Development Flight Centre in West Palm Beach, Fla.
"The Army looks forward to the capabilities this unique new platform will bring to Future Combat System (FCS) development, where Vertical Take-off and Landing air vehicles will provide the ground commander with an organic Reconnaissance Surveillance and Target Acquisition capability and improved situational awareness," Meyering said.
The CYPHER II incorporates shrouded rotor technology developed on the CYPHER Technology Demonstrator (TD) aircraft. The addition of wings and a pusher propeller provides high speed capability. The aircraft has a 10-foot wing span, weighs about 250 pounds at mission weight and is capable of 135 mile per hour forward flight speed.
The CYPHER II can hover like a helicopter or be flown as a fixed wing aircraft. The air vehicle incorporates technology that makes it suited for urban surveillance, communications relay, precise payload delivery, and operations in crowded terrain.
As a fixed wing aircraft, the CYPHER II UAV has a maximum range of more than 100 nautical miles. As a rotary wing aircraft, the CYPHER II UAV can operate in confined areas and support urban operations.
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