Boeing Co said on Wednesday it has agreed with Israel-based Tactical Robotics to explore development of a ducted fan propulsion technology with potential uses for piloted and autonomous light aircraft.
Through a joint working group, the two companies will determine what opportunities may exist in developing, producing and marketing vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) products including Tactical Robotics’ own Cormorant autonomous vehicle.
The currently available Cormorant is a compact, unmanned, single-engine, VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft. Internal lift rotors enable the Cormorant to fly inside obstructed (e.g. mountainous, wooded, urban) terrain where helicopters are unable to operate. The Cormorant is innovative due to its internal rotors and significant payload capacity that allows for the evacuation of 2 casualties as well as fast and flexible payload reconfiguration for other missions.
Cormorant can deliver up to 500 kilos of cargo or equipment in both commercial and emergency response scenarios. Outfitted with remotely controlled mechanical arms, it can also perform useful work for a variety of utility and emergency response missions.
Aviation ducted fan technology uses a fan mounted in a cylindrical duct to produce thrust. This arrangement can enhance airflow velocity and pressure when compared to an open rotor.