Insitu, a Boeing subsidiary, has developed a hybrid drone concept, combining a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle and copter, enabling vertical takeoff and landing capabilities.
According to the company, the Integrator Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) provides customers with maximum payload flexibility and endurance while operating from tight quarters on ship decks.
Copter is affixed atop fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle, and hauls the 250 lbs. drone upward in VTOL mode. At an altitude determined by various surrounding conditions, the quadcopter thrusts forward and releases Integrator to set it off on its horizontal mission.
When that is completed, the companion craft takes to the skies again and fishes UAV in mid-air as it passes using a recovery cable, then lowers the drone slowly to the deck or other cramped landing area before coming down itself.
Insitu’s Integrator VTOL maximizes safety with its automated launch and recovery and heavy fuel engine.
“Our Integrator VTOL flies in the most difficult environments at sea, able to fly at 80% of weather conditions in the North Atlantic, from icing to Sea State 5,” the company said in a Twitter post.