The Arcturus-UAV T-20 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flew to a record altitude of 23,500 MSL during a training flight at Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center in Wyoming. Arcturus reports that the previous altitude record for the T-20 was 15,000 MSL, set at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
The company notes that no special modifications to the aircraft were needed, and the T-20 UAV was catapult launched and landed safely after the eight-hour flight.
A team of pilots, controllers and engineers from Arcturus were allowed to take the T-20 to the record altitude as part of an acceptance test for a new fleet of aircraft, the company adds.
Arcturus says the T-20 is a runway-independent, Tier II class, small, tactical UAV, with a primary mission of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
According to Arcturus, the T-20 payload consists of a gimbal sensor that provides full-motion video from daylight and infrared cameras. Video is transmitted by a secure data link to mission commanders on the ground, and an onboard GPS autopilot with waypoint navigation accepts multiple flight plans from the ground control station, allowing the T-20 to fly missions of up to 16 hours and return to a specified location autonomously.
The T-20 is powered by a 190 cc, air-cooled, four-stroke, fuel-injected engine, Arcturus adds. Furthermore, carbon fiber composite construction used in the T-20 airframe allows the UAV to carry payloads of up to 65 pounds.