The Cypher, a ducted rotor UAV airplane with a composite shroud structure, fly-by-wire controls, integrated aeronautics, and an aboard mission laptop. This UAV is equipped with a range of payloads, like detector packages, with a weight up to forty lbs. The symmetrical, rounded shroud safely encloses the rotor system, and produces a stealthy signature. The vehicle will operate autonomously per a preplanned mission or below communication system via a data-link Cypher incorporates a hover capability, 3 hour flight endurance, and its high speed of seventy knots permits flights up to twenty five kilometers.
Flight demonstrations of the Cypher technology demonstrator craft were conducted by the sikorsky craft corporation. Intended for military and civil applications. These demonstrations embrace capabilities like ground and armed service police investigation, communications relay and countermeasures missions, non-defense roles as counter-narcotics, ordnance disposal, forestry, utilities, enforcement and search and rescue.
The Cypher UAV is 6.5 feet in diameter. It combines the potency of a ducted airstream with a homocentric advancing blade idea rotor system. The rotors and also the circular shroud that encloses them can share in providing carrying capacity. Powered by a 50-horsepower category engine, Cypher UAVs are able to cruise at eighty knots, for up to 3 hours, with a ceiling of 8,000 feet. Cypher shares each automatic target detection and fly-by-wire control systems with the Boeing industrialist RAH-66 Comanche chopper being developed for the military.
As an autonomous, or “smart” air vehicle, Cypher holds position and navigates employing a differential world Positioning System. The air vehicle is in a position to fly “hands-off,” rather than being flown directly by a ground operator. It additionally showed a capability to land remotely, camera-directed by its aboard tv, on slopes as high as fifteen degrees. Confined space operations showed it kicking off and landing between obstructions even twelve feet apart.
The enclosed rotor idea developed by sikorsky is safer than exposed UAV rotor systems. The Cypher style, with the rotor system within a shroud, minimizes the hazard of exposed high speed rotor blades to ground personnel. The Cypher incorporates composite structures, bearing-less rotors, fly-by-wire flight controls, advanced aeronautics. It works plainly and utilizes a centralized laptop, known as the vehicle mission processor, for execution of flight control laws, vehicle management functions, direction computations, flight payload management and air vehicle communications.
Cypher’s UAV autonomous flight modes are auto take-off and landing, position hover-hold, altitude hold, rate hold, way-point navigation and UAV return-home. Implementation of the return-home mode permits the operator to command the vehicle back to the first launch location – or the other preset location – with simply a push of the button.
The Cypher vehicle is controlled and monitored from an integrated mobile ground station. The whole mission is planned, operated and monitored from one system manager monitor. Vehicle and payload commands, from the system manager, are relayed to the UAV airplane via a digital telemetry transmission. UAV altitude mission knowledge, surveillance knowledge and payload video are incorporated into one downlink signal that’s transmitted to the management van.
The air vehicle accumulated over four hundred flight hours at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., and at various U.S.government demonstrations.
In a demonstration at the Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) site at Fort Benning, Ga., Cypher flew down streets, landed on a building’s roof and strategically placed varying payloads. For the U.S. Army’s Autonomous Rotorcraft Testbed (ASRT) program, Cypher – with no operator input – searched and tracked man-size targets. For the U.S. Department of Energy, Cypher used magnetometers to go looking and find underground structures and tunnels in Nevada. In Sep 1997, Cypher flew at the Army’s Force Protection equipment Demonstration in Virginia.
Other Cypher demonstrations enclosed flights at Indiana’s test bed for detection of loaded ordinance and also the Army personnel college at Fort McClellan, Ala., wherever the UAV took part during a drug interdiction exercise.
The multi-use Security and surveillance Mission Platform (MSSMP), started in FY’92 because the Air-Mobile Ground Security and closed-circuit television (AMGSSS), was intended to produce a fast deployable, extended-range police investigation capability for a range of operations and missions, including: readying, force protection, plan of action security, support to counter-drug and patrol operations, signal/communications relays, detection and assessment of barriers (i.e., mine fields, tank traps), remote assessment of suspected contaminated areas (i.e., chemical, biological, and nuclear), and even resupply of little quantities of crucial things. The MSSMP system consists of 3 air-mobile remote sensing packages and a base station.
The MSSMP detector packages could operate as transportable complete units, or from air-mobile platforms. the present style of the air-mobile platforms is based on the Sikorsky Cypher enclosed-rotor vertical-take-off-and-landing Unmanned air vehicle. This air-mobile platform carries its detector package from one ground surveillance location to a different, up to ten kilometre from the original station.
A portable mission payload Beta package was developed by a team of SSC engineers and scientists, and a further payload package was integrated onto the Cypher vehicle by Sikorsky and SSC engineers. In May 1996, the system was successfully shown at the military college at ft. McClellan, AL, during a simulated counter-drug operation. The portable detector package mounted on a ground vehicle-of-opportunity and also the Cypher-mounted detector package were both operated at the same time over a similar radio network.
In January 1997, the MSSMP system’s continued role was shown during Military Operation in Urban areas situation at the Dismounted Battlespace Battle Laboratory, Ft. Benning, Georgia. The system showed reconnaissance support with the vehicle flying down town streets, searching through upper- and lower-story windows, providing lookout support prior to advancing troops, and performing observations when landing on the roof of a 2 story building. The vehicle additionally dropped a simulated radio relay on the highest of a building, a miniature intrusion detector in an open field, and carried a customary Army optical device rangefinder/designator as a payload.
The AMGSSS idea grew from NRaD’s expertise with the ground Air Telerobotic System (GATERS) program, initiated in 1986 by the United States Marine Corps. NRaD (then the Naval Ocean Systems Center (NOSC)) was the principle development agent on the system. GATERS consisted of a land-based, Tele-Operated Vehicle (TOV) and the Airborne Remotely Operated Device (AROD). The TOV was developed to perform remote reconnaissance/surveillance with fire and target designation/ranging capabilities. The TOV supported a High-Mobility-Multi-Wheeled-Vehicle (HMMWV) platform while AROD provided mobile intelligence reconnaissance. The TOV used a fiber-optic communications link to produce the required bandwidth in non-line-of-sight operations. The military users did not need to be encumbered with the fiber-optic tethers and preferred that one operator be able to supervise many remote systems.
The AROD was a ducted fan VTOL air vehicle that would easily translate through the air and supply aerial surveillance. The AROD was controlled from a mobile ground control station over a fiber-optic data-link, with a radio link as a back up. AROD had shorter flight endurance and payload capabilities. The AMGSSS idea marries the fast quality and low-data-rate management aspects of VTOL platforms with the long endurance reconnaissance capabilities of the unmanned ground vehicles.