Source: DARPA httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8ZbtZqH6Io The Nano Air Vehicle (NAV) program is developing an extremely small, ultra lightweight air vehicle system (less than 15 centimeters and less than 20 grams) with the potential to perform indoor and outdoor military missions. NAV is exploring novel, flapping wing and other configurations to provide warfighters with unprecedented capability during urban operations.
NAV will push the limits of aerodynamics, power conversion efficiency, endurance and maneuverability for very small air vehicle systems. These platforms will be revolutionary in their ability to harness low Reynolds number physics, navigate in complex environments, and communicate over significant distances. Flight-enabling nano air technologies include aerodynamic design tools to achieve high lift-to-drag airfoils; lightweight, efficient propulsion and power systems; guidance, navigations and communication subsystems; and advanced manufacturing and innovative subsystem packaging and configurations layouts.
The NAV Program is currently in Phase II of Development
The technical goals for the Phase II effort were set out by DARPA as flight test milestones for the aircraft to achieve by the end of the contract effort. The Nano Hummingbird developed by AeroVironment (AV) met all, and exceeded many, of the milestones:
1. Demonstrate precision hover flight within a virtual two-meter diameter sphere for one minute.
2. Demonstrate hover stability in a wind gust flight which required the aircraft to hover and tolerate a two-meter per second (five miles per hour) wind gust from the side, without drifting downwind more than one meter.
3. Demonstrate a continuous hover endurance of eight minutes with no external power source.
4. Fly and demonstrate controlled, transition flight from hover to 11 miles per hour fast forward flight and back to hover flight.
5. Demonstrate flying from outdoors to indoors, and back outdoors through a normal-size doorway.
6. Demonstrate flying indoors ‘heads-down’ where the pilot operates the aircraft only looking at the live video image stream from the aircraft, without looking at or hearing the aircraft directly.
7. Fly the aircraft in hover and fast forward flight with bird-shaped body and bird-shaped wings.