Researchers from the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have successfully tested the Nomad flight vehicle aboard the Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) in order to demonstrate its upgraded launch and control capabilities, as well as new recovery abilities.
The trials involved the launch of multiple vehicles in quick succession, conducting formation flying operations and recovering all vehicles on-board the USS Coronado.
NRL Vehicle Research Section (VRS) senior aerospace engineer co-principal investigator Steve Tayman said: “Nomad, is a low-cost rotary wing vehicle in which researchers can test remote control, autonomous flight control, station keeping and safe coordinated flight supporting any number of possible future payloads.
“The unique form factor provides compact, lightweight storage in an integrated launch tube, and allows for storage in a ready-to-use condition for quick reaction deployment.”
The latest test represented the first trial of the Nomad multi-launch and retrieval technology’s on-board a US Navy ship.
Nomad’s recovery feature allows operators to retrieve and reuse the vehicles multiple times in support of development, testing and training, and potentially during future operational missions.
The new multi-launch capability enables the deployment of multiple Nomads in quick succession instead of singularly.
The new system retains its previous CO2 ejection system design.
VRS senior Guidance, Navigation, and Control researcher Aaron Kahn said: “During this test we were able to show multiple Nomads can safely operate in the same airspace and fly in a coordinated fashion.
“The ability to retrieve Nomads back on-board the ship opens up future opportunities for testing and fleet training with more expensive payloads, an aspect of affordability that can easily be overlooked”
The Nomad project has been funded by the US Office of Naval Research.