American defense manufacturer AeroVironment has launched its next-generation all-electric “Vapor 55 MX” helicopter unmanned aircraft system built for heavier payloads and longer distances.
The Vapor 55 MX has a completely redesigned autonomy framework and is equipped with a “sleek and efficient low-profile structure” that guarantees 25 percent increased endurance and allows it to operate in all types of weather.
The new aircraft is also heavy-lift capable and its 20 percent expanded payload capacity allows for quick and easy field integration for better mission flexibility.
These new features are expected to optimize the drone’s operational performance to “meet current and emerging needs of defense, commercial, and industrial customers.”
AeroVironment commented that military customers would benefit from the Vapor 55 MX’s capacity to carry up to 22 pounds (10 kilograms) of payload.
“The new VAPOR 55 MX is an easy-to-maintain system that incorporates a highly versatile modular architecture and tool-free rail system for simple, efficient integration of third-party or custom payloads, allowing users to adapt to multi-sensor, multi-mission requirements including utility inspection, aerial surveying, public safety and defense applications,” AeroVironment’s Trace Stevenson said.
Other key features include a telescoping tail boom and folding land gear which both allow for greater portability and quick assembly and disassembly of the aircraft.
Vapor 55 MX’s common radio interface connector also provides modular radio options for users to seamlessly operate with a low-cost encrypted radio or swap to military radio.