|Source: Ettelaat (photo caption: successful test of world's first VTOL drone in Iran)|
As previously posted on this blog, Iran had announced that it had successfully tested a VTOL drone on November 3, 2012, which is nice, but what caught my attention was that the IR of Iran and some of its defenders here claimed that this drone was the "first in the world". Below is the actual report by Mehr news on the Iranian drone, along with some information on other "firsts" VTOL drones manufactured in the USA years prior.
This piece does NOT include information on all VTOL drones (I apologize to the military buffs), but I just wanted to prove that the statement that the Iranian drone was the "first in the world" is simply "false" which I'm sure many of you find shocking.
On Nov 4th, 2012 MEHR NEWS reported (unedited complete report):
Iran manufactures VTOL drone
TEHRAN, Nov. 4 (MNA) -- Iranian experts have succeeded to build a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drone which will be unveiled in the coming months.
The drone is being manufactured by researchers from the Mazandaran Science and Technology Park.
It is the first time that such a drone is being manufactured in the world. It will be unveiled during the festivities marking the 34th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in mid-winter.
“This drone which enjoys ultra-modern technology and is being built for the first time in the world will be unveiled in Bahman (Jan. 20-Feb. 18), concurrent with the ten-day dawn celebrations,” Abbas Jam, the lead researcher, told the Mehr News Agency.
The drone does not require runways at all and can take off and land vertically.
“The drone is soundless and does not need runway for take-off,” Jam added.
The drone was to be tested on Saturday at the presence of the director of the Aerospace Industry Organization and senior officials from the Passive Defense Organization. (1)
Below is info on other VTOL drones not manufactured by Iran:
Bombardier CL-327 "Guardian"
The CL-327 is an improved version of the CL-227 Sentinel VTOL UAV. The CL-327 is one of the most advanced vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) surveillance system designed for intelligence gathering today. The system's turboshaft-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operates either from land or ship and can carry a wide variety of sensors for different mission requirements. The CL-327 is designed to satisfy numerous emerging market requirements for a dependable and versatile vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAV.
The Guardian offers 6.25 hours of endurance, a 105kg payload capacity, and a 200 km range. The system includes a Williams International heavy fuel engine, a digital data-link, compatibility with the CARS automatic recovery system, and the US sponsored Tactical Control Station.
The CL-327 entered production in October 1996, following the conclusion of a successful US Navy-sponsored heavy fuel propulsion program. The Guardian will be offered to worldwide customers seeking an affordable unmanned surveillance capability that can operate from all-sized navy ships and in rugged land environments which lack airstrips and infrastructure. (2,3)
2000 & 2005
RQ-8 & MQ-8 (USA)
|Source:US navy (RQ-8a landing on USS Nashville)|
In February 2000, the US Navy chose the RQ-8A Fire Scout as its vertical take-off and landing tactical unmanned air vehicle (VTUAV). Northrop Grumman-Ryan Aeronautical of San Diego was awarded an engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract for the Fire Scout, which would provide situational awareness and precision targeting support to the US Navy and Marine Corps. The Fire Scout programme is being managed by the US Navy's PMA-263 Unmanned Vehicles Program Office at Patuxent River, Maryland. In 2006, an RQ-8A landed autnmously (without a pilot controling the aircraft) aboard a moving US ship, the USS nashville (9).
In August 2005, Fire Scout was redesignated from RQ-8 to MQ-8 to reflect its multirole capability, including the ability to deploy weapons.(4)
January 26, 2006 Bell Helicopter’s TR918 Eagle Eye Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) lifted off the ground for the first time yesterday, hovered for nine minutes, executed yaw and translation manoeuvres and then landed safely. It then undertook a second flight within 30 minutes of the maiden flight's landing. We have previously written about the TR918 here - the Eagle Eye uses the same tiltrotor system as a number of other Bell-Boeing VTOL designs, most notably the V-22 Osprey (Bell - Boeing)and the Quad TiltRotor.(8)
Excalibur VTOL Drone-USA
Three horizontally mounted propellers help a tilting turbojet push the craft up, and are then stowed away as the jet drops into flight position.
The model tested on June 24 is only 13 feet long with a 10-foot wingspan, but Aurora hopes the successful flight test will help it secure additional Pentagon funding for a full-scale version with roughly twice the dimensions.
The final version should be able to cruise along at 460 mph, near the speed of sound, and carry four Hellfire missiles.
By comparison, the Predator maxes out at 135 mph and carries two Hellfires. The Reaper does about 300 mph, but can carry up to 14 Hellfires, or a combination of Hellfires and laser-guided bombs.(5)
Cypher II by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, USA.
Two Cypher II prototypes have been built for the US Marine Corps, which calls it the UAV “Dragon Warrior”. The Cypher II is similar in size to its predecessor, but has a pusher propeller in addition to its rotor and can be fitted with wings for long-range reconnaissance missions. In its winged configuration, the Cypher II has a range of over 185 kilometers (115 miles) and a top speed of 230 km/h (145 mph). It is unclear if the Cypher will enter into production.(6)
In conclusion, I just wanted to be the first to report that the Islamic republic of Iran, not knowing what to do with all the excess dollars, had also developed the world's first Jedi interceptor but it was unexpectedly destroyed by an American teenage Jedi. The tragic loss of the aircraft was captured in this clip: