Launch and return system of unmanned aerial vehicles

5 September 2012


United States Air Force researched opportunities to use Boeing 747 as a flying aircraft carrier. The famous defence contractor designed a concept which freed part of the aircraft interior for “micro-fighter jets”. The concept remained on paper, as no technological solutions to fulfil the project had been found yet.


United States Maritime Force launched Sparrowhawk bi-planes filled with zeppelin helium produced by Goodyear-Zeppelin.

Combat UAVs

Northrop Grumman, Canada will be able to use Polar Hawk UAV to monitor the ice surface from the height of 18,300 km for 33 hours. The price of one UAV is 200 million USD. 

A new approach

Americans have been recognised as trend-setters in the research and development of unmanned aerial vehicles. The U.S. government’s determination to spend billions of dollars on the military development attracts major corporations for further modification of combat and reconnaissance UAVs. The original concept, however, remains unchanged: extremely long flight distances - 24-30 hours in air - satellite control. Such kid of products are oriented solely on domestic market and that of several countries such as Germany, for instance, RQ-4E Euro Hawk priced 1.2bn EUR for 5 UAVs for the Bundeswehr. The real modern military conflict revealed the inefficiency of such UAVs for combat purposes, considering the risk of losing an expensive aircraft during a confrontation with enemy’s fighter jet and anti-aircraft systems. Moreover, foreign satellite intelligence will notice a UAV taking off from a U.S. military base far earlier its arrival to the conflict zone.

Patent on invention UA 99079

A wide array of UAVs available on the market today provides opportunities to chose ready UAV for aerial taking off and return to the carrier-aircraft. The modifications of such products are minor (control and mooring systems). 

Invention’s formula

Launch and return system of UAV, is made up from a carrier-aircraft (1) with a cargo section (5), equipped with a hatch (11) and a special manipulator installed limes on a hatch (10). There is also a required number of UAVs (7), a crane (9) and a transport trolley (8) that can move. The arch-shaped grabbing mechanism of the manipulator (12) has two sections (14) equipped  with cameras and electronic lock (13). There are special ledges on the sides of the fuselage (15) that can interact with the manipulator’s sections. The carrier-aircraft is equipped with a separate section (2) and UAV control systems (3). The technological result is simplifying the process of return for a UAV back to the carrier-aircraft alongside with increased safety and security standards. The carrier-aircraft and the UAV are equipped with a laser system of orientation for the mooring (17).

As a result, specialised UAVs can be produced on this base: light, agile, with a smaller fuel tank and area of control up to 50-100 km with the maximum combat payload.  Such UAVs will be stored in the cargo section of an aircraft disguised as ordinary transport plane and will be delivered to and from the conflict zone in secret. The choice of carrier-aircraft will be defined by technical characteristics, UAV size and that of a transport section of the carrier-aircraft, as well as by a number of UAVs required for the mission.

The vitality of the complex is defined by flight-technical characteristics of the carrier-aircraft and by the use of active and passive methods of fighting against the offensive weaponry of the enemy. 

Read more details about Patent UA 99079   

Patent’s publication date: 10.07.2012  

Author: Pavel Naumenko


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