Infantry: Miniature Helicopter UAV in Iraq

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July 11, 2007: The U.S. Army has successfully tested a miniature helicopter UAV, called the MAV ((Micro Air Vehicle), in Iraq. The 17 pound vehicle can fly as high as 500 feet, and carries day and night cameras (PHOTO). The MAV is most useful in urban environments, where it can quickly flit around buildings and other obstacles.

The MAV has its blades contained within a cylindrical enclosure, and uses software control to keep it stable in flight. All the operator has to do is tell it where to go. Endurance, as with helicopters, depends on altitude. At sea level, the MAV will stay in the air for about 60 minutes, before it has to be refueled (it uses the same fuel as military vehicles.) But at 10,000 feet (typical in Afghanistan) it can stay in the air for only about 20 minutes. The MAV and control equipment can be carried in a special container which, when loaded weighs about 40 pounds. It can be backpacked.

The MAV has been flying for three years now, and underwent months of testing with troops in Hawaii, before more mods and shipment off to Iraq. The troops using it were enthusiastic. The most popular, and numerous, UAV in Iraq has long been the hand launched Raven. The troops have been asking for a hovering UAV, and now they have it. Honeywell, the manufacturer, is gearing to produce a hundred a month. The MAV, at about $35,000 costs a bit more than Raven ($25,000 each).

 


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