developing for the FCS program a
backpack-sized Miniature Air Vehicle (MAV) designed to gather and
transmit battlefield Information in support of small units
operations. The development of the MAV was part of an Advanced Concept
Technology Demonstration (ACTD) program developed for DARPA and
has since transitioned into advanced development under the US Army
Future Combat Systems' program. Once matured, the micro air vehicle
will become become the smallest unmanned aerial element of the U.S. Army's Future
Combat Systems program, providing "hover and stare"
capability at the platoon level. Class I is one of four UAV
systems organic to platoon, company, battalion and brigade
echelons that form the aerial component of the FCS networked
system-of-systems, providing protection and information to
soldiers on the ground.
The MAV ACTD is designed as a ducted fan air vehicle, and
flies like a
helicopter, using a propeller that draws in air through a duct to
provide lift. The MAV's propeller is enclosed in the duct and is
driven by a gasoline engine. A heavy fuel engine variant of the
MAV will be available in 2006. The MAV is controlled using
Honeywell's micro-electrical mechanical systems (MEMS) electronic
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, is 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 will operate in a variety of
weather conditions including rain and moderate winds.
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 is needed to operate the MAV or exploit its data and
In October 2005, the Class I MAV was tested by
the 25th Infantry Division soldiers, receiving positive reviews.
During the tests, an infantry scout platoon used the hovering
micro UAV to obtain reconnaissance information instead of sending
out soldiers to conduct reconnaissance missions. Typical missions
were flown to scout convoy driving routes, and collection of
real-time information to improve situational awareness. MAV
simplicity of operation was demonstrated in these tests -
according to DARPA, soldiers who were familiar with commercial
video games found it easy to learn to operate the MAV.
The user evaluation tests performed by the 25th ID concluded the
program's second development phase. In 2006 Honeywell will improve
the system based on user feedback and deliver 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 will have increased vehicle
endurance, improved sensor performance, and better
On May 24,
2006 Boeing, the FCS program integrator awarded Honeywell a $61
million development contract to fully develop the Class I UAVS.
First prototype deliveries and flight tests are scheduled for