AeroVironment has announced the launch of their new VAPOR 55 MX helicopter-type UAV, a longer-range variant of their earlier VAPOR 55 UAV. Compared to its predecessor, the VAPOR 55 MX features amore efficient low-profile design that enables the UAV to cruise for up to 75 minutes, compared to the baseline variant’s 60 minutes, and operate in wind speeds of up to 15 m/s, compared to the baseline variant’s 10 m/s. VAPOR 55 MX also possessed increased usable payload capacity over its predecessor, and can be equipped with various user-defined single or multiple payload configurations.
This UAV’s modular payload bay can carry loads weighing up to 5.4 kg (12 lb) while maintaining the 25 kg (55 lb) gross take-off weight (GTOW) weight limit imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on commercial customers. For military customers requiring more take-off weight, VAPOR 55 MX is capable of a 29.4 kg (65 lb) GTOW,carrying payloads weighing up to 10 kg (22 lb) albeit at the cost of lower endurance. In this configuration, the UAV would be classified as belonging in the lower band of the Group 3 UAV weight class.