Sabrewing set for launch of heavy-lift drone aircraft

Sabrewing Aircraft Company, Inc., has announced that it will host an online launch of its full-sized flying aircraft, the Rhaegal-A, as part of the US Air Force’s Agility Prime program, which is scheduled for the week of April 27 to May 1, 2020.

Sabrewing’s aircraft launch will be shown live online at 1:00pm Pacific Daylight time (9:00pm BST) on May 1.

Sabrewing is the first company to win a contract with the Air Force’s Agility Prime program under an AFWERX Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase II contract.

The contract, which is valued at $3.25 million, will test Sabrewing’s prototype aircraft and equipment.

Will Roper, assistant secretary of the air force for acquisition, technology and logistic, commented: “The Air Force is all in. If it’s helping us to do logistics at the edge, we could end up buying these in higher quantities.” 

Sabrewing’s production aircraft, the Rhaegal-B, is an eVTOL (electric vertical and takeoff and landing) aircraft, capable of carrying ULDs — either two LD-1 containers, four LD-2 containers, or two LD-3 containers. The eVTOL can take off and land vertically, like a helicopter, as well as like a conventional aircraft.

The Rhaegal-B has a capacity of a 5,400 lbs (2,450 kg) of payload to and from locations without any runway, bringing tons of cargo to the remotest parts of the world.

The Rhaegal-B has a range of 1000 nautical miles at altitudes of 22,000ft (6,700m) at speeds of up to 200 knots (370 km/h).

The aircraft uses electric motors to turn fans within ducts that provide lift during takeoff and landing, but uses a main wing to provide lift during cruise flight.

“After several years of market research and speaking with dozens of cargo carriers, we gain an understanding of what was needed in a cargo aircraft,” said Ed De Reyes, CEO of Sabrewing Aircraft Company. “Our cargo UAV can take off and land like a helicopter with a heavy payload, as well as fly farther, faster and higher at a fraction of the cost of any other aircraft in its class,” he added.

The Agility Prime evaluation of Sabrewing’s aircraft includes its Detect And Avoid system, and testing to determine if it can operate in an environment where accurate GPS signals are jammed or unavailable.

In addition, the evaluation included simulating payloads, locations and evaluations of the performance of the aircraft – including casualty evacuation demonstrations with simulated casualties.

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