6/18/2007 - LE BOURGET, France -- The Boeing Company
successfully completed the first flight of the A160T
Hummingbird unmanned rotorcraft June 15 from an
airfield near Victorville, Calif.
The A160T, a turbine-powered version of the
innovative piston-powered A160 helicopter, features
unmatched range, endurance, payload and altitude for
an unmanned rotorcraft.
"Today's Hover-In-Ground Effect flight is our first
step in providing the warfighter the key element of
our approach to providing persistent intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance coverage that only an
unmanned helicopter of this type can provide," said
Jim Martin, Boeing Advanced Systems A160 program
manager, after the flight.
During the 12-minute hover flight to verify vehicle
and subsystem operation, the A160T met all test
objectives and collected extensive flight control,
propulsion and subsystem operation data.
The test marked the 37th flight overall for the A160
program and the first in a series of flights that will
demonstrate endurance levels greater than 18 hours.
The aircraft used during the tests is the first of 10
A160Ts Boeing Advanced Systems is building for the
Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency and the U.S.
Special Operations Command.
The Hummingbird features a unique optimum speed rotor
technology that significantly improves overall
performance efficiency by adjusting the rotor system's
revolutions per minute at different altitudes, gross
weights and cruise speeds. The autonomous unmanned
aircraft, measuring 35 feet long with a 36-foot rotor
diameter, eventually will fly more than 140 knots with
a ceiling of 25,000 to 30,000 ft. (high hover
capability up to 15,000 ft.) for up to 20 hours.
Operational A160Ts will be capable of persistent
intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; target
acquisition; direct action; communication relay and
precision re-supply missions.
Source: Boeing Press Release