Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) ACTD
The Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) was a fully autonomous system but can be re-programmed and controlled in flight if the mission changes. Soldiers can be trained on vehicle operation in less than 24 hours and then can immediately begin to operate the vehicle for proficiency training. Unlike other unmanned aerial systems, no specialized military training was needed to operate the MAV or exploit its data and imagery. The system would provide the small unit with militarily useful real-time combat information of difficult to observe and/or distant areas or objects. The system would also be employable in a variety of warfighting environments (for example: in complex topologies such as mountainous terrain, urban areas, and confined spaces).
The primary goal of the Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) program was to further develop and integrate MAV technologies into militarily useful and affordable backpackable systems suitable for dismounted soldier, Marine, and Special Forces missions. The ACTD would focus on the development of lift augmented ducted fan MAVs to accomplish unique military missions, particularly the hover and stare capability in restricted environments. The objective of the MAV ACTD was to demonstrate a backpackable, affordable, easy-to-operate, and responsive reconnaissance and surveillance system. The initial MAV technology development program focused on the technologies and components required to enable flight at small scales, including flight control, power and propulsion, navigation and communications.
The primary objective of the ACTD was to demonstrate a backpackable, ducted fan, Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) affordable, easy-to-operate, and responsive reconnaissance and surveillance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The inherent capabilities of the MAV must enable it to have the ability to hover and stare, be capable of flying in urban canyons and in restrictive mountainous areas, and fulfill the need for real-time Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition (RSTA) and Battle Damage Assessment (BDA).The MAV was focused on a small system suitable for backpack deployment and single-person operation. Honeywell was awarded an agreement to develop and demonstrate the MAV as part of the MAV ACTD, which pushed the envelope in small, lightweight propulsion, sensing, and communication technologies.
MAV focused on the development of lift augmented ducted fan MAVs to accomplish unique military missions, particularly the hover and stare capability in restricted environments. The objective of the MAV ACTD was to demonstrate a backpackable, affordable, easy-to-operate, and responsive reconnaissance and surveillance system. The system would provide the small unit with militarily useful real-time combat information of difficult to observe and/or distant areas or objects. The system would also be employable in a variety of warfighting environments (for example: in complex topologies such as mountainous terrain; urban areas; confined spaces; and high concentrations of civilians).
The MAV system was a unique small UAV due to its ability to “hover and stare” in urban and complex environments. The vehicle operates from a stationary hover through forward flight at relatively low altitudes above ground level (AGLs). MAV typically flies within 100 feet to 500 feet AGL. It provides forward and downlooking video and still imagery under day or night (infrared) conditions. It also operates at density altitudes up to 11,000 feet where tactical military units typically operate. The vehicle can launch and operate in adverse weather conditions such as rain and wind.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) MAV program was an ACTD that worked to determine the value of backpackable ducted fan unmanned aerial vehicles employed at the small infantry unit level. The ACTD was a program jointly sponsored and managed by DARPA, United States Pacific Command, the U.S. Army and the office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Advanced Systems and Concepts. The specific military unit involved in the development and testing of this prototype system was the 25th Infantry Division as part of the United States Army Pacific (USARPAC).
The products of the MAV ACTD were a military utility assessment (MUA) and residual unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems that remained with the 25th Infantry Division (ID) for extended user evaluations over a two year period. MAV ducted fan technology has already transitioned to the U.S. Army Future Combat System (FCS) program. The MAV was the basis for the FCS Class 1 vehicle which was in the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase.
With the emergence of Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) into the Army's repertoire of unmanned surveillance systems, there was a pressing need for payloads to be form-fit and compact. Current Optical systems for these vehicles were limited in their mounting configurations and field of regard (FoR). Radio frequency systems were also limited in capability. A Common-Aperture Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) and Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) (CAGE) system would create a system for the FCS Class I UAV and the MAV that allows for an RF GMTI Radar to share apertures with an EO sensor system (with IR and Laser Designation (LD) and Laser Range Finder as objectives).
The initial MAV technology development program focused on the technologies and components required to enable flight at small scales, including flight control, power and propulsion, navigation and communications. The MAV ACTD program was intended to get DARPA-developed small, VTOL UAVs rapidly into the hands of the users for evaluation and evolution of the technologies; development of tactics, techniques and procedures; and to provide a residual operational capability to active duty forces.
The MAV ACTD program was intended to get DARPA-developed small, Vertical Take - Off and Landing (VTOL) UAVs rapidly into the hands of the users for evaluation and evolution of the technologies; to develop tactics, techniques and procedures; and to provide a residual operational capability to active duty forces. The three-phase MAV ACTD conducted initial design and development from April 2002 through February 2005. The program's second phase included initial flight tests and experiments at the McKenna urban training site at Fort Benning, Ga., and concluded with the user evaluations with the 25th Infantry Division.
Micro air vehicles developed under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) received positive reviews from 25th Infantry Division soldiers after experiments with military users in October 2005. The vehicle's ability to hover and stare in urban and complex environments, and its ease of employment showed promise for use during a variety of tactical operations. During the tests, an infantry scout platoon used the MAV to obtain reconnaissance information instead of sending out soldiers to conduct reconnaissance missions. The soldiers also used the MAV to conduct aerial reconnaissance prior to driving a convoy route, and to provide information on the location of opposing forces. The use of the MAV provided the platoon with better situational awareness, and led to less confusion during tactical operations.
During the October tests 2005, soldiers who were familiar with commercial video games found it easy to learn to operate the MAV. The MAV system consists of two air vehicles with support equipment of fuel, batteries, an observer/controller unit, remote video terminal and starter. Each vehicle weighs about 17 pounds fully fueled, was 13 inches in diameter and designed to be transported in a back pack. The vehicle operates at altitudes of 100 to 500 feet above ground level, and can provide forward and down-looking day or night video or still imagery. The vehicle would operate in a variety of weather conditions including rain and moderate winds.
During FY2006, the program improved the system based on user feedback and delivered 25 additional, improved systems to the 25th Infantry Division beginning in July 2006 for five months of user evaluations. Among other improvements, these new systems would have increased vehicle endurance, improved sensor performance, and better observer/controller units. The United States Army Aviation and Missile Command located at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama announced [Solicitation Number: W58RGZ-07-R-0288] on Dec 07, 2006 a requirement to procure on a sole source basis the continuation of a Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD).
These items are only available through Honeywell International, Inc., Defense and Space Electronic Systems, Albuquerque, NM. This phase of the MAV ACTD focuses on sustainment, testing, and continued development of the MAV, including an option for OCONUS deployment for extended evaluation of the MAV. The FCS MAV technology was planned for transition to the Army during FY 2007. By mid-2007 the first batch of MAVs was being deployed in Iraq to help infantry troops.The FCS MAV technology was planned for transition to the Army during FY 2007. Following its military utility assessment in FY2005–06, 25 MAV systems were to transfer to the Army in FY2007. Based on the MAV ACTD, the Army awarded an SDD contract to Honeywell for its FCS Class I UAS, and IOC was planned for 2015.
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