Xawk X-4 UAS

Program Overview:

The Xawk X-4 UAS improves upon the highly successful X-2C system design and configuration.  Featuring a new drag-reducing internal boom attachment configuration, a 2° wing dihedral, a taller base, and redesigned, more responsive empennage, the all carbon-composite airframe of the Xawk X-4 improved stability, handling, and flight performance over its predecessor.  The system couples a robust student designed and built airframe with a combination of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and student-designed software components into a dynamic system capable of gathering imagery of targets of interest during fully autonomous flight.

The onboard systems include a similar avionics platform from X-2C, including a Piccolo LT autopilot and a broadband Ethernet bridge. X-4 however boasts a higher-performance Sony EVI camera and on-board video IP server accessible via custom student-written software on the ground. All transmissions are securely encrypted.

Xawk X-4 removed the flight control redundancy system from X-2C because of interference-related problems on the crowded 2.4GHz bandwidth. Instead, further emphasis has been placed on early detection of potential autopilot component failures. Notifications on the ground will alert operator in event of anomalous sensory data and prompt the user to land. In the event of loss of signal for greater than 1 minute, the aircraft will configure itself for a self-ditching flight attitude.

Operational Success:

At the 2010 AUVSI Student UAS Competition, the Xawk X-4 system won 2nd place overall, with prize money of over $7,500.  As traditionally done, Team Xipiter reinvested all of the team winnings back into the organization to further research and improvements on the Xawk family of UAS.

Xawk X-4 continues to serve as a secondary system test-platform and training aircraft.  It is also used by the Bagley College of Engineering for public relations activities.