Boeing A160 Hummingbird

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The Boeing A160 Hummingbird (military designation: YMQ-18A) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) helicopter. Its design incorporates many new technologies never before used in helicopters, allowing for greater endurance and altitude than any helicopter currently in operation.

The development of Hummingbird was begun for DARPA by Frontier Aircraft in 1998. From 2003 both the US Army and the US Navy also shared in funding the project. In May 2004, the company was acquired by Boeing and became integrated into Boeing Phantom Works and then into the Advanced Systems group of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. Early A160s were powered by modified Subaru automotive engines, but newer versions use Pratt & Whitney PW207D turboshaft engines.

The A160 continued with developmental flight tests in 2010, but test flights had already demonstrated greater endurance, higher altitudes, more extensive autonomy, and greater payload. The program had ambitious goals of a 2,500-mile (4,000 km) range, 24-hour endurance, and 30,000 ft (9,100 m) altitude. Flights were largely autonomous, with the aircraft making its own decisions about how to fly itself so as to meet certain objectives, rather than relying on real-time human control. The A160 achieved maximum speeds of over 140 knots, though endurance and altitude were its goals, not speed. The aircraft measures 35 ft (11 m) from nose to tail and has a rotor diameter of 36 ft (11 m).

The project was abandoned by the US Army in December 2012.

 

General characteristics

  • Crew: 0
  • Length: 35 ft 0 in (10.7 m)
  • Main rotor diameter: 36 ft 0 in (11 m)
  • Empty weight: 2,500 lb (1,134 kg)
  • Gross weight: 6,500 lb (2,948 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207D, 550 hp (410 kW) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 160+ mph (258+ km/h)
  • Endurance: 20+ hours
  • Service ceiling: 20,000–30,000 ft (6,100–9,150 m)
  • Maximum glide ratio: 7 (according to Karem)