Army, Marines Eying Backpackable Mini-Helicopter
By Stew Magnuson
LAS VEGAS Companies offering small hand-launched helicopters are a common sight on the exhibition hall at the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International show.
Now, there might actually be customers for them. The Army and Marine Corps have a joint requirement for mini-helicopters that could be carried into the field by small units, according to Col. Grant A. Webb, Army Training and Doctrine Command capability manager for unmanned aerial systems.
It will have to be small enough for a soldier or Marine to carry it in his backpack, and easy to deploy, he said Aug. 7 at the AUVSI conference.
“It has to be launched when the soldier is prone. There are some situations when you don’t want the soldier standing up launching a Raven or a Puma,” he said, referring to the Army’s two current small UAS.
A capability production document, which specifies the performance parameters the service is looking for, is currently under review by a three-star general, and Webb is trying to push that through in order to field the aircraft as soon as possible.