Tuesday, February 02, 2010


by Gil Ronen

February 1, 2010

The IDF's inventive powers have produced the Air Mule: an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which assists medical rescue and evacuation teams, which has recently passed its initial flight tests.

Despite its name and bulky – if not downright ugly – outward appearance, the UAV is quite an agile performer: IDF journal BaMachaneh reported that the new UAV, which weighs a ton, will be able to carry equipment and fly into zones where navigation is challenging, such as high-rise neighborhoods in urban areas and natural crevices. In addition, the Air-Mule takes off vertically, like a helicopter, and its stability will be guaranteed by a unique flight supervision system.


Urban Aeronautics, UAV's manufacturer, is one of the world's leading companies in the development of propellers which are installed inside the aircraft instead of outside. The advantage of this is that it allows the aircraft to carry out a wider range of operations in narrow places – as opposed to conventional airplanes and helicopters which can only operate in open areas.

"The number one cause of aerial accidents is damage caused to the rotor, and we managed to overcome this obstacle," the CEO of Urban Aeronautics, Dr. Rafi Yoeli, told BaMachaneh.

The technological devices included in the Air-Mule give it additional abilities: Two laser sensors indicate the flight altitude, and modern technology allows the operators to receive real time information on the activity of the Air-Mule's motor.

During the tests, the Air-Mule succeeded in overcoming difficult weather conditions, and the test team was very satisfied with its flight abilities during a storm that occurred at the test area. It is currently undergoing additional tests to further examine its stability and its ability to fly between two pre-defined locations.

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