Farnborough Air Show

Boeing’s Hummingbird UAV demonstrates endurance

 - July 7, 2008, 6:53 AM

Boeing’s A-160T Hummingbird rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) recently claimed an unofficial world’s record for its weight class by staying aloft for more than 18 hours. In a mid-May test at the U.S. Army’s proving ground in Yuma, Arizona, the turbine-powered craft–carrying a 300 pound payload–reached altitudes of up to 15,000 feet and landed with a fuel reserve of more than 90 minutes.

The UAV features an optimum-speed technology that can adjust the rotor’s speed in flight at different altitudes, operating weights and cruise speeds. Boeing’s customers for the Hummingbird include the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. According to Boeing’s Advanced Systems division, the A-160T will eventually fly at more than 140 knots and reach a maximum altitude of 30,000 feet with a mission endurance of more than 20 hours.