'Ugly, But Functional' Aircraft Has DHS Potential
The Kansas National
Guard is currently testing an unmanned aerial aircraft the military
uses for cargo and propaganda distribution to determine ways it can
be integrated into a variety of other uses.
Developed by Mist Mobility Integrated Systems Technology, the
CQ-10A SnowGoose is the world's first unmanned cargo aircraft. It
is capable of carrying up to 575 pounds of payload and can be
launched from a C-130, C-141, or C-17 as well as off the ground
from a Humvee, flatbed or logistics trailer. It has up to 15 hours'
endurance, an 18,000 foot operating altitude and a 500 mile range
with a 110 HP Rotax 914 UL engine, according to the company.
The UAV is deployed with an attached parachute. It can be
operated via control box and joystick or autonomously using a
digital mapping system.
"It's ugly, but it's very functional," said Chuck Jarnot, a
former Army helicopter pilot and MMIST consultant. The Canadian
company has already sold 40 of the CQ-10As to the U.S. military
which is currently utilizing them in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The KNG is performing the investigative testing at the Smoky
Hill Weapons Range near Salina where the Guard's Great Plains Joint
Training Center is also located.
Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, Kansas adjutant general and Guard
commander, invited MMIST to bring the SnowGoose to Kansas and use
the Smoky Hill air space for further development and testing,
according to the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World and News.
"We see a lot of potential for it in Homeland Security," said
Great Plains training officer, Lt. Col. J.J. Jordan.
One of the potential uses for the SnowGoose include carrying
communications equipment over disaster areas, as speakers can be
attached and used to broadcast messages to areas without
communications, Jordan said. It can be used to re-establish cell
phone networks in a devastated area as well.
Other potential uses include: cargo, disaster relief, search and
rescue, civil protection and response, mapping and aerial survey,
public safety police/drug interdiction, heat/sod/vegetation
monitoring, fire surveillance and communication bases on a wireless
The aircraft's cargo
boxes are like a "chest of drawers," Jarnot said. Cargo can be
deployed from the air with a parachute or delivered when the
aircraft lands. It's used to deliver supplies to Special Forces
teams in remote areas, eliminating the risk to soldiers that can
accompany the use of a helicopter.
"It's hazardous to the helicopter crew," said Jarnot, a former
Black Hawk pilot. "A more discrete milk truck or FedEx truck, if
you will, in the neighborhood is far more effective at delivering
these types of payloads. It's quiet and it can fly at night."
"The 'black box' with the computer software measures wind
speed and direction and tells the plane when to make drops," Jarnot
said. "It is the real jewel on this aircraft; all other components
are off-the-shelf components."
Each pair of the UAVs goes for about $800,000, according to
Jarnot, including support equipment.
The Kansas Guard hasn't purchased a SnowGoose yet, but it is
interested in that possibility, said spokeswoman Sharon Watson.