DARPA wants Lockheed to design a surveillance drone shaped like a mapleseed. The remote-controlled nano air vehicles (or NAVs, for short) would be dropped from hovercraft, whirl around a battlefield snapping pictures or delivering various payloads. Once the NAV delivers its payload, it would return to the warfighter for collection and refurbishment.
Besides controlling lift and pitch, the wing will also house telemetry, communications, navigation, imaging sensors, and battery power. The NAV will be about 1.5 inches long and have a maximum takeoff weight of about 0.35 ounces. A chemical rocket enclosed in its one-bladed wing will power a sensor payload module more than 1,100 yards. Delivered from a hover and weighing up to 0.07 ounces, the module will be interchangeable based on mission requirements.
According to James Marsh, director of Lockheed Martin's Advanced Technology Laboratories (ATL), "The challenges are both exciting and daunting, because some of the technologies vital to our success have yet to be discovered. We know going in that we need some of the best minds in manufacturing technology and in the development and integration of highly sophisticated, software- driven control technologies and mission systems." From Lockheed press release via Yahoo Finance
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