Lafayette, Colo.-based aerospace company Reference Technologies has released three models of its Hummingbird line of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
The company says the Hummingbird UAS incorporate a proprietary design that includes external multi-rotors attached on the periphery of a central ducted fan.
The Model I, Reference Technologies reports, is a battery-powered drone with a medium flight duration and light payload capacity. The Model II, the company adds, is a hybrid-powered UAS that utilizes a gas-powered electrical system that provides power to six external rotors surrounding a 19-inch electrically powered central ducted fan with two counter-rotating fans. The Model II is a long-flight-duration and high-payload aircraft.
According to Reference Technologies, the Model III is an enhanced version of the Model II that uses eight external rotors in conjunction with a 24-inch central ducted fan to provide extended flight duration and payload capacity.
The Hummingbird product line of VTOL UAS, the company notes, features flight times in excess of 5 hours and payloads over 25 pounds. Reference Technologies says that to further enhance the payload and mission flexibility of all three aircraft, each airframe is equipped with multiple hard points that can carry/release mission-specific payloads.
Reference Technologies adds that direct flight control and pre-programmed flight plans are managed via a variety of ground control interfaces, including Intel-, Android- and iOS-based devices.
‘After two-and-a-half years of development and testing, the Hummingbird aircraft will begin customer deliveries in [the third quarter] of this year,’ comments Allen Bishop, founder and president of Reference Technologies.
Photo of the Hummingbird Model II courtesy of Reference Technologies