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CF UAVs

Defence Research  –  Draganflyer X8 UAV  –  November 2010

A pair of Draganflyer X8 micro UAV (from Saskatoon) for DRDC
Autonomous Robotic Platform Field Trials – MERX ACAN Notice

This $40,000 ACAN is for 'man-pack' micro UAVs. The "electric rotocraft" in question are Draganflyer X8 UAV helicopters from Draganfly Innovations  of  Saskatoon, SK. Unveiled in Aug 2010, the Draganflyer X8 builds on previous Draganfly rotory-wing UAV designs. In effect, Draganflyer X8 is the counter-rotating pairs of rotors from a Draganflyer X6 but mounted on cruciform arms like those of earlier Draganflyer X4s.

Those cruciform arms fold for compact storage (and carrying – satisfying DND's "man portable" require- ment). When operational, the Draganflyer X8 UAV measures 87cm x 87cm x 32cm high. When folded, it compacts to 54 cm  wide. Construction is  mostly of moulded carbon fibre  ( including propeller blades ).

The Draganflyer X8 centre body holds the battery and data links. At the outer end of each arm is a pod holding two electric motors driving the counter-rotating propellers – the upper rotors having a diameter of  40 cm, the lower rotors having a 38 cm diameter.

As usual, this ACAN provides as little information as DND and Public Works can get away with. Only the supplier's name and a rationale are given. Were citizens wanting to know how their money is being spent, they must know to look in a separate annex.

Annex A reveals that $40K buys 2 micro UAV systems. They will not be operational UAVs. They are for ongoing 'Autonomous Robotic Platform' field trials at  CFB Suffield. Air vehicles and ground controllers will come from the supplier. Government-supplier equipment consists of an "auton- omy package" and two laser rangefinders (Hokuyo UTM-30LXs retailing for $6K each). As a DRDC experimental trial, this ACAN emphasizes how few successful  UAV types DND was able to field for Afghanistan combat operations.
An edited text of  the ACAN (as published on the MERX website) is reproduced here. ________________________________________

[Draganflyer] MAN PORTABLE ELECTRIC ROTO- CRAFT – ACAN  [ Advance Contact Award Notice ]
________________________________________

Reference Number                PW-$REG-151-4078
Solicitation Number              W7702-115097/A
Organization Name               Public Works and Government Services Canada
                                                 Travaux publics et Services gouvernementaux Canada
Source ID                               FD.DP.QC.10077.C2
Associated Components     No

Dates

Published     2010-11-11
Revised        —
Closing         2010-11-29  02:00 PM  Central Standard Time  CST

Details

Category     Aerospace
GSINS          N1550A:  DRONES, UNMANNED AIR VEHICLE MANUFACTURERS
Region of Delivery            Alberta
Region of Opportunity     —
Agreement Type                Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT)
Tender Type                       Advance Contract Award Notice (ACAN)
Estimated Value                  —
Solicitation Method           —

Notice Description

MAN PORTABLE ELECTRIC ROTOCRAFT [...]

Vendor Name and Address:

Draganfly Innovations Inc.
2108 St. George Avenue   Saskatoon Saskatchewan
Canada  S7K0M7  [...]

BACKGROUND:

The objective of the ARP 12pu [Autonomous Robotic Platform field trial] is to demon- strate semi-autonomous, micro-aerial vehicles that reduce operator workload and provide situational awareness to the dismounted warfighter in complex terrain using commercial-off-the-shelf technology. This will be achieved by simplifying UAV operations through obstacle avoidance and soldier-centered maneuver behaviours, such as: follow me, look out ahead of me, go to, and come home.

SOLESOURCE JUSTIFICATION:

The Draganfly [sic] X8 is able to fly and hover while avoiding obstacles and land/perch on buildings to deliver streaming and still imagery. The UAV must be small (backpack- able by soldier and for stealth), quiet (for stealthy operation), able to hover (to acquire images and video) and have a payload of 1kg (to carry necessary autonomy sensors and cameras).

Other UAV necessities to meet the objectives of the ARP 12pu program:

1. Ability to collapse to a single man-portable package (including ground station) that is light-weight to facilitate dismounted operations.

2. Use a counter-rotating multi-rotor design to minimize noise and possible injuries to personnel or damage to the aircraft from rotor strikes. (Smaller rotors with lower wing- tip speeds)

3. Use of multiple rotors and motors that allow the rotorcraft to fly and land safely in the event of rotor damage or motor failure.

4. Have an unloaded (i.e. 0 gram payload) endurance of at least 20 minutes.

5. Have position hold capability. Once assigned a GPS position hold waypoint, the vehicle will maintain this position without operator assistance.

6. Maintenance free operation [,] no tuning is required to prepare rotorcraft for flight.

Estimated Cost: $40,000

Required Delivery Date: March 31, 2011  [...]


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