Israeli Tactical Robotics is developing an impressive Cormorant unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for various markets including the military. The first flight in prototype form was recorded in January 2009, and the product is currently under development (2018). The design of the aircraft is credited to Rafi Yoeli.
Two airworthy prototypes have been built and the aircraft is under intense scrutiny by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for possible service on urban battlefields. Depending on the evaluation, the service could launch as early as 2019 or 2020.
The design could also meet NATO requirements for medical evacuation/evacuation in the near future, which may be of interest to the US Army.
In past lives, cormorants were known as "AirMule" or simply "Mule". The IDF calls it "Pereira", which means "dragonfly".
The Cormorant's inherent capabilities (and relatively compact size) allow it to maneuver over diverse terrain, including mountainous and urban environments - including remote, isolated areas typically cut off from fixed-wing and certain helicopter types. Drones are also touted as a more cost-effective solution by weight than complex, fuel-guzzling helicopters.
Like a helicopter, the Cormorant can operate in hover mode during the day or in low light and can withstand wind gusts of up to 40 knots.
Kormoran is being developed to meet the ongoing needs of various industries, including engineering (structural testing), agriculture (chemical distribution), search and rescue (SAR), firefighting, and oil and gas, and can also play a role in humanitarian assistance related to disaster relief. The drone approach also eliminates the loss of human life as human pilots are removed from the vehicle equation (replaced with remote pilots).
Internally, the system is powered by the patented Fancraft fan-based elevator assembly to provide unprecedented aerial precision, allowing the aircraft to safely navigate between buildings or in canyons. This is largely achieved through a four-channel redundant fly-by-wire (FBW) system. Power comes from a single Turbomeca (France) "Arriel" 2N turboshaft engine - the same as modern military and civilian helicopters - rated at 985 hp.
This provides the necessary lift for vertical take-off and landing mode (VTOL). Two lift fans are involved, one at the front of the fuselage and the other at the rear of the fuselage. Smaller fans are located outside the rear area of ??the fuselage for propulsion.
Despite the multiple lift fans, the noise level is negligible for an aircraft of this size.
Curb weight is reported as 2,020 lbs and vehicle MTOW is 3,700 lbs. Top speed over terrain is 100 knots, depending on the payload involved, and the endurance window is around 2.5 hours.
In the event of a total system failure, the aircraft can deploy an optionally fitted parachute to delay its fall and minimize damage from impact. The landing gear is a simple four-point wheeled assembly that remains stationary during flight.
The cargo compartment can hold up to two stretchers or 500kg worth of cargo including water, food and medical supplies. Optional cargo or special mission packages can be attached externally to further increase the tactical value of the air system.
- Close Air Support (CAS)
- Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC)
- Search and Rescue (SAR)
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
- X-Plane / Development
- Special Forces
11.48 ft (3.5 m)
7.55 ft (2.3 m)
180 km/h (97 knots)
466 miles (750 km; 405 nmi)
Cormorant - name of the base series