Mon, Jan 25, 2010
13 Pound UAS Deployed From A Sonobouy Dropped By A P-3
What would you call a UAS that is dropped form a P-3 and
intended primarily for weather research? Coyote might not come
immediately to mind, but that is the name given by BAE Systems to
its newest small, electric-powered UAS. Recently, BAE, in
partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA), completed the first successful test flight
of the Coyote unmanned aircraft system. The system deployed in
midair after being dropped from a P-3 aircraft in a 3-foot-long
The flight, which lasted 49 minutes, marks a significant
milestone in the development of the Coyote for military uses and
"This is a major step forward for this innovative and
one-of-a-kind system," said John Wall, vice president of aviation
programs for BAE Systems.
Initially funded by the U.S. Navy, the Coyote weighs only 13
pounds and has a 58-inch wingspan. During freefall, the system is
designed to emerge from a sonobuoy, unfold its wings, and begin a
directed flight path. Equipped with sensors or cameras, it can
perform intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions
while the host aircraft remains in safe airspace.
NOAA funded the test flight, using its WP-3D Orion aircraft, to
explore the Coyote's potential use in weather research. Future
testing will assess the system's suitability to be dropped into a
hurricane or tropical storm to measure wind speed and other data
critical to forecasting.
"Small unmanned aircraft systems are important tools that can
help improve our understanding of the environment," said Lt. Cmdr.
Nancy Ash, NOAA manager for the Coyote project. "The Coyote has
demonstrated the potential to provide researchers with valuable
observations of high-wind environments."
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