Russian tech firm to develop army flying vehicle for airborne operations

Russian first military cyclocopter © Milena Sineva/TASS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

KUBINKA, Aug 29, 2020, TASS. Russia’s Advanced Research Fund unveiled the flight demonstrator of the country’s first cyclocopter at the Army-2020 international military and technical forum on Friday (Aug 28), TASS reported.

The Advanced Research Fund intends to use the cyclocopter called Cyclone to create a full-size flying passenger vehicle for Russia’s Defense Ministry by 2024.

Cyclone Project Head from the Advanced Research Fund Grigory Makeich told TASS that the drone weighing 60 kg is already undergoing flight tests. “The task is to improve the automatic control system by the end of the year. We are planning to mount a hybrid engine to enable it to fly for over 60 minutes,” he specified.

At the acceptance trials scheduled for February 2021, the cyclocopter is due to demonstrate its advantages and stated characteristics, he said.

“After that, we will switch to developing a larger vehicle capable of carrying up to six persons. We are due to test a full-size rotor system for a large vehicle in a wind-tunnel facility until the end of the year. And a full-size passenger cyclocopter is due to be created by 2024,” he said.

The Russian military displayed interest in the new vehicle. In particular, there are plans to create a ground- and deck-based cyclocopter for airborne operations, Makeich said.

Advantages of cycloidal rotors

The Advanced Research Fund initially set the task of looking for optimal solutions for developing flying vehicles. Based on this assignment, scientists of the Institute of Thermophysics at the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and engineers of Autonomous Aerospace Systems – GeoService proposed creating a cyclocopter.

“A cyclocopter has some advantages: it is compact and has a low level of noise compared to a helicopter or a quadcopter. Also, the cycloidal rotors allow changing the direction of the thrust vector by 360 degrees, which makes this vehicle highly maneuverable,” Makeich said.

Russian specialists are developing the cyclocopter for its operation in urban conditions and in hard-to-access mountainous terrain. It is capable of flying among obstacles, docking to vertical surfaces and also taking off from and landing on an inclined surface (something that a helicopter or a quadcopter cannot do) while demonstrating high maneuverability. The peripheral protection of its engines will help avoid the rotors’ destruction when colliding with obstacles, the representative of the Advanced Research Fund said.

The 60 kg flight demonstrator can carry a payload of 10-20 kg. “Correspondingly, such cyclocopter drones will be capable of accomplishing assignments for the Defense Ministry, performing strike missions. A machine-gun or unguided bombs can be mounted on the drone. The cyclocopter can also carry out reconnaissance stealthily due to the low level of noise,” Makeich said.

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