Insitu launches new multi-copter drone for ship decks: Integrator VTOL

The Integrator VTOL can be used in a variety of situations, but it is primarily intended for usage on ship decks.
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Institu's Integrator VTOL
Institu's Integrator VTOL


Insitu, a subsidiary of the Boeing Company, has announced the launch of its new Integrator Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft system (UAS), called FLARES, at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Exhibition in National Harbor, Maryland.

The system, manufactured by Hood Tech, is a multi-copter drone designed for use on ship decks and can also be utilized in various other scenarios.

Integrator VTOL is a portable system that can launch vertically on ships or land without sacrificing payload capacity or endurance. It can perform as well as fixed-wing aircraft and provide the same long-range wide-area surveillance capability for extended periods. The system is uniquely designed to operate in tight quarters, such as ship decks, and challenging maritime conditions with high seas and gusty winds.

VTOL drones may be versatile, but the weight and aerodynamic drag of their extra hardware result in a shorter range than that of their fixed-wing-only counterparts. That's where the FLARES system comes in, as it lets fixed-wing drones make vertical takeoffs and landings.

What the new VTOL offers

The new system offers more than 16 hours of endurance, carrying 40 lbs. of best-in-class modular payloads. It has a three-times improvement in range and endurance over hybrid VTOLs and a significant improvement over tail-sitters in its ability to fly on and off ships in rough seas.

The Integrator VTOL is a combination of two parts: FLARES and the Insitu Integrator air vehicle. Requiring no modifications to the aircraft, FLARES performs normal operations at half throttle, allowing significant control authority to withstand gusts, lower-density air, and higher ship deck motion.

The FLARES engages the Integrator and climbs into the sky to release it once it reaches its desired altitude, allowing Integrator to perform its long-range, wide-area surveillance mission for extended durations. FLARES returns to a ship’s deck or land to await Integrator’s return. As Integrator approaches the end of its mission, FLARES climbs into the sky with a recovery rope attached and performs Insitu’s well-proven maritime retrieval method. FLARES then lowers Integrator to the ship’s deck or landing area to complete the mission.

“Integrator VTOL is a no-compromise unmanned aircraft system,” said Diane Rose, Insitu president and CEO. The system offers vertical launch and recovery with industry-leading payload capacity and endurance for the most critical missions, even in the most extreme maritime environments and sea states, without sacrificing valuable transport, deck, or hangar space.”

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