AUVSI: Frontline V-STAR Has 1min Maiden Flight

Flight Dialy New Frontline Aerosapce
Rob Coppinger

Denver-based Frontline Aerospace flew its prototype unmanned air vehicle for the first time in Colorado on 9 August for 1 minute, with its next test planned for early 2010 when a lift fan will be incorporated.

The prototype uses an electric motor ducted fan and has a mass of 41 lb, including its maximum payload of 12 lb, and is to be offered as a product that will compete in the small tactical class, against the likes of the Boeing/Insitu ScanEagle. The lift fan to be added is 5.5 inches in diameter. The prototype is remote controlled and its autonomous systems are under development. Frontline is also looking to use a proton exchange membrane type fuel cell using liquid hydrogen to increase its endurance.

The prototype is a one-quarter scale version of the company’s original 2,360 lb maximum take-off weight Vertical take-off and landing Swift Tactical Aerial Resource (V-STAR) UAV that has a 400 lb payload capacity and 288 knot cruise speed. The company will only develop the full-scale V-STAR if it can raise funding. Frontline is also offering a recuperator to improve engine performance. It will test this technology later this month.