Israel's Urban Aeronautics has completed short untethered, automated test flights of the AirMule vertical take-off and landing unmanned aircraft. Powered by a Turbomeca Arriel 2 turboshaft, the AirMule has ducted rotors fore and aft for VTOL and ducted fans for propulsion.
Video: Urban Aeronautics
Urban says the UAV navigated using GPS/INS and optical reference markers on the ground and maintained altitude using two laser altimeters. A radar altimeter is being added to operate in dusty conditions.
The AirMule is designed for operation in confined spaces -- for resupply, medevac or rescue missions -- the ducts protecting the rotors from buildings and people. Vane cascades on the duct inlets and outlets provide sideforce, roll and yaw control.