NRL's Vehicle Research Section has developed a family of small, electric powered helicopters capable of fully autonomous flight, including takeoff and landing. Missions are monitored and directed by satellite communication, allowing operation independent of line-of-sight RF links. Maximum gross vehicle weight is 42 pounds, cruise speed is 35 MPH, and endurance is 30 minutes, including 5-7 minutes of hovering flight. SPIDER is easily transportable and uses rechargeable batteries.
Program type: 6.2 Exploratory Development, 6.3 Systems Development