The 21 foot wingspan aerial vehicle will weigh about 2,600 lbs.
The empty weight will be 700 lbs., Excalibur will be able to
carry a payload of up to 400 lbs. To enable the attack role,
Excalibur will be compatible with Hellfire, APKWS II, Viper
Strike and SPIKE. Excalibur will combine VTOL launch and recovery,
high-speed flight (460 knots), and low speed loiter (100 knots)
into one aircraft. The vehicle will be able to operate in a
STOL or STOVL mode for increased mission durations or payloads.
The Excalibur's weapons carriage concept is unique. When the
aircraft is on the ground, weapons and payloads are placed over
the wings to protect them from damage from dust or debries.
After takeoff, Excalibur rolls upside-down to normal flight
pattern, with payload and weapons in normal position under the
It is powered by a turbine engine, placed in oblique position,
generating thrust and lift for forward flight and rotating into
vetical, for take-off and landing. The turbine generates sufficient
thrust to accelerate the vehicle to dash speed, in excess of
300 knots, enabling the Excalibur to reach flash points in half
the time of an attack helicopter. The UAV can also loiter over
the target area for much longer, even after flying long distances.
Excalibur uses a unique three-fan design to lift augmentation
for vertical takeoff and landing. The battery powered lift fans
are embedded in the wings and fuselage. The wing stored fans
slide out to augment turbine thrust during takeoff and landing.
Excalibur will be cleared for operation at altitudes up to 40,000
feet, and 3 hours flight endurance.
The flight control system will be designed to enable high level
of autonomy, since the aircraft is not be remotely piloted,
like current Predators, operators are able are expected to focus
on mission planning, finding, and engaging targets instead of
flying the aircraft.
Excalibur is under development as a technology demonstrator
aircraft, funded by the US Army's Aviation Applied Technology
Directorate. Excalibur is scheduled for flight in 2007 pending
availability of funds.
Highly autonomous flight control system will reduce human involvement
in controlling the platform, enabling the operator to focus
on mission planning, finding, and engaging targets. The Excalibur,
designed by Aurora, is scheduled for flight in 2007. General
Dynamics Robotics Systems (GDRS) is responsible for the ground
control station and data links.
Excalibur is developed by Aurora Flight Sciences in conjunction
with the Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate and the
Office of Naval Research. Aurora conducted extensive wind tunnel
testing of scaled-down vehicles and plans to test a proof of
principle aircraft in 2007, after which, the company plans to
continue the development into full scale system.