|Sikorsky Cypher II UAV Conducts First Flight |
Sikorsky Cypher II UAV Conducts First Flight
Stratford, Connecticut -- July 5, 2001 (Sikorsky) -- The Sikorsky CYPHER II Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) reached a major milestone here on June 15 with its first tethered flight. This marked the first time the experimental aircraft has taken to the air. CYPHER II has since maintained a rigorous, almost daily test flight schedule.
The aircraft is being built for the U.S. Army Night Vision Labs in Fort Belvoir, Va., 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 Center 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 shrouded rotor is safer than exposed rotor systems typically used on rotary-wing UAVs because it minimizes the hazard of exposed high speed rotor blades to ground personnel. 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 with its unique removable wing design can hover like a helicopter or be flown as a fixed wing aircraft. The air vehicle incorporates cutting-edge technology that makes it ideally 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.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing and service. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX), of Hartford, Conn., which provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.
For more information, contact Bill Tuttle at (203)386-3829 or Ed Steadham at (203)386-6086.