Arguably the most impressive new design on display at Dubai is Adcom Systems’ latest unmanned air vehicle, the United 40. Based in Abu Dhabi, the company has forged a reputation for taking innovative approaches to UAV and aerial target design, and the United 40 does not disappoint due to its tandem-wing layout and dramatic S-shaped fuselage.
The tandem-wing UAV concept that has resulted in the United 40 has been in research and development for about four years. In its formative years it was given development designations in the X range, but later became known as the Shaheen. It has recently received its new name to honor of the 40th anniversary of the creation of the United Arab Emirates.
Flight trials with scale models of tandem-wing designs began around two years ago, the models increasing in size and complexity. The final test vehicle was powered by two small tractor engines mounted on the rear wing, and had a span of six meters. Armed with results from these flight tests, Adcom has now built the full-scale aircraft, and it is intended to fly in the next few weeks.
A tandem wing was selected for a number of reasons. Most importantly it is very forgiving in terms of center-of-gravity limits, while it also reduces ground footprint. The incidence of the front wing can be altered to provide pitch control and trim. The wings themselves offer very high lift, resulting in an extraordinary glide ratio of 1:43. Span is 57 feet 6 inches and the lifting area of the wing is 262 sq ft.
Climb performance is expected to be excellent, based on data from the scale-model trials. Takeoff/landing speed could be as low as 33 mph, and the vehicle has an expected ceiling of more than 23,000 feet. Maximum takeoff weight is around 2,205 pounds, and up to 211 U.S. gallons of fuel can be carried giving a long endurance. Of that total 63.4 U.S. gallons is held in the wings. Payloads can be carried externally under the fuselage, in an internal bay, or in up to four under-wing pods.
Another unusual feature of the United 40 is its hybrid powerplant, which comprises a primary 120-hp Rotax 914UL engine driving a pusher propeller in the tail, augmented for takeoff and climbout by an 80-hp electric motor mounted further forward.
Yabhon-Namrod UAV Warhead
Displayed alongside the United 40 is a new weapon intended for use with the UAV. The Yabhon-Namrod has been designed by Adcom to be carried internally on an eight-round rotary launcher. It has a straight wing that swivels into position on launch, and a small jet engine that can power the weapon to around 620 mph over a range of around 37 miles.
Yabhon-Namrod weighs about 66 pounds. The warhead is based on that of a standard 100mm artillery round. A range of guidance methods could be employed, including infrared and laser, as well as GPS/inertial