The University of Maryland’s (UMD) unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test site recently acquired 11 TigerShark drones to enhance and expand the site’s long-range testing.
The new aircraft, which add to the test site’s fleet of more than 40 rotary-wing, fixed-wing and hybrid aircraft, can carry up to 100 pounds of payload, stay airborne for as long as seven hours and operate as high as 14,000 feet.
“Some of the most crucial applications of UAS technology – disaster response, communications relays, underground surveys – require the ability to carry heavier payloads for longer periods of time and over distances greater than most commercially available vehicles can manage,” says Matt Scassero, director of the UAS test site. “With the TigerSharks, we are well positioned to advance innovations in processes and technologies for use in civilian and defense operations.”
The first research operation to feature a TigerShark will be a collaboration with the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division aimed at establishing a communications relay that allows individuals to remotely control ground robots. Initial testing using the smaller Talon 240G began at Crisfield Municipal Airport in southern Maryland in the fall. The test site expects to transition operations to the TigerShark in May 2018.