Aerostat Communications Relay from Unmanned Surface Vehicle

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N00024-15-C-4010
Agency Tracking Number: N131-039-0518
Amount: $1,979,739.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2015
Solicitation Year: 2013
Solicitation Topic Code: N131-039
Solicitation Number: 2013.1
Small Business Information
PO Box 202, West End of Second Street, Essington, PA, 19029
DUNS: 793042243
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Richard Billingslea
 Sr. Systems Engineer
 (610) 521-6115
 richardbillingslea@dragonflypictures.com
Business Contact
 Michael Piasecki
Title: Technical Point of Contact
Phone: (610) 521-6115
Email: michaelpiasecki@dragonflypictures.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
The CommLift Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is an alternate and novel approach to providing long range, over-the-horizon, communications for surface vessels; it uses a tethered electric UAV to carry a radio payload to suitable altitude, rather than an aerostat. The tether provides power from an unmanned surface vessel (USV) to the UAV and also bi-directional communications between them. Since electric power is supplied from the surface, the UAV endurance is unlimited. The essential innovations are (1) an autonomous UAV to be tethered to takeoff, follow above, and land on, a USV, (2) to provide UAV power and communications over the tether, and (3) paired UAV autopilots (one at the surface and one on the UAV) to allow the UAV to follow USV movements and to control UAV takeoff and landing. The Phase I performance metrics are demonstration of suitable power and communications over a >525 ft. tether, tethered takeoff and landing of a multirotor UAV from a 30 knot moving vehicle and control of a high voltage brushless DC motor's speed and design of tether control system and surface based support package.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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