Xawk 5 UAS, SN 002

Program Overview:

Completed in May 2012, SN 002 is the second Xawk 5 class UAS fabricated and tested for low-level ISR missions.  Using the Xawk 5 airframe design, changes to SN 002 include a much more robust surveillance subsystem communications platform (using 5.8 GHz) and a completely rewritten surveillance software package.

At conception, the primary objectives for the Xawk 5 UAS program aimed at improving surveillance system technology, manufacturing techniques of the flight vehicle, and part sustainability to further fulfill the spirit of the overall competition’s mission simulation.  The Xawk 5 airframe design features only minor changes from X-4. Some of the highlights include: an aerodynamic nosecone to reduce aircraft drag, a better shock-absorbing nose landing gear design, and a custom fabricated C-channel spar to replace the commercial-of-the-shelf tube spar. The aircraft is powered by an upgraded 12-HP Desert Aircraft DA120 powerplant, for its improved reliability, performance, and weight reduction.

The onboard avionics package was completely overhauled with the Xawk 5. The autopilot was upgraded to a Piccolo SL autopilot from Cloud Cap Technology, which increases the number of I/O data lines that can be operated through the autopilot.  Xipiter fabricated a custom two-axis gimbal-mount for a new Imperx Bobcat IGV-B4820 16-MP high-definition camera. The IGV-B4820 is currently used in other military applications. An on-board PC104 computer from Versalogic (dubbed, Xocelot) was also added integrated in Xawk 5 to provide image processing and storage prior to transmission to the groundstation.

The Xawk 5 program was announced on August 31, 2010 and SN 002 began fabrication on September 15, 2011. On May 20th, 2012, the aircraft rolled out of Raspet Flight Research Laboratory. It completed its first flight on May 24th.

The name Xawk 5 differs from our other systems, dropping the “X-” nomenclature and symbolizing system stability.

Operational Success:

Xawk 5, SN 002 successfully flew and competed in the 2012 AUVSI Competition on June 16, 2012. The aircraft was able to hit all nine waypoints and dynamically re-task in midair before entering the defined search area, despite winds aloft of over 20mph. The team also identified all five parameters and the geographic location of four targets on the ground, resulting in a top 6 placement in flight. Xipiter finished in the top 10 overall, winning over $3,500 to reinvest in future system improvements and research.