Friday, May 24, 2024

Zenith AeroTech showcases tethered aerial vehicle for first time

Zenith AeroTech, a Virginia-based company provider of heavy-lift tethered aerial vehicles (TAVs), will exhibit its Quad 8 TAV and Ground Power Unit for the first time at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC), held May 17-19 in Tampa, Florida.

The Quad 8 drone is described as a long-endurance vehicle that can offer a flight time of over 100 hours. It is a versatile, user-friendly quadcopter with two motors and propellers on each of its four arms. The redundant propulsion systems mean that the unit can safely land even after the unlikely loss of 2 motors. Quad 8 is extremely flexible in its payload and able to fly a combination of cameras, other sensors, and illumination panels.

The Quad 8 weighs 24 lb (10.8 kg), measures 46 in. x 46 in. x 23 in. when deployed and can carry a payload of up to 20 pounds. This allows the platform to use a wide range of equipment, including combined electro-optical/infrared cameras, LIDAR, synthetic aperture radar, scanning radar, laser pointers, and target designators. The drone is designed to meet warfighter operations, such as overwatch, over-the-hill communications, force protection, and persistent surveillance.

Last May, the Quad 8 was flown for 96 hours straight in an endurance test. All through that demonstration, it was supported by the Ground Power Unit, which, carried in a Pelican case, acts as a tether management system and converts available 120- or 240-volt AC power into high-voltage DC.

“People tend to think of small drones as having limited air endurance and carrying only one or two pounds of payload, but our family of TAVs are in another class entirely,” said Kutlay Kaya, chairman of Zenith AeroTech. “Drawing power from the ground, they can stay in the air for days at a time.”