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  • Sky Sapience Introduces the HoverMast Autonomous Hovering Platform
    Posted by Noam Eshel 11:45 AM on Feb 23, 2012

    The ‘HoverMast’ developed by the Israeli start-up company Sky Sapience is scheduled to go on an operational evaluation in the upcoming months, demonstrating the system’s capability to expand the surveillance coverage of unmanned ground vehicles. The HoverMast will be unveiled at the upcoming AUVSI Conference and Exhibition to be held in Tel-Aviv next month. Sky Sapience is positioned to compete with IAI's ETOP, which is a larger, heavier platform.

    blog post photo

    Sky Sapience developed HoverMast in the past two years, in response to an Israel Ministry of Defense (MOD) requirement for a lightweight tethered hovering platform. The system was one of several concepts evaluated by the MOD Research and Development Directorate (DDRD), which eventually selected the HoverMast as the sole developer of the tethered platform technology. Sky Sapience markets the HoverMast as a platform for military surveillance, observation and target acquisition applications. It will also offer an affordable application for border protection, urban security, crowd control and other civil applications.

    According to Brig. General (IAF Ret.) Gabriel Shachor, CEO and Founder of Sky Sapience, the HoverMast was developed specifically for small vehicles such as the Guardium-LS from G-Nius, the vehicle selected for integration with the HoverMast. Other platforms include the Zibar light reconnaissance vehicle. According to Shachor, the platform is due to enter production toward the autumn this year. Sky Sapience has strategic partnerships with MAFAT -- the IMOD research and development agency and G-NIUS Unmanned Ground Systems Ltd.

    In the stowed position the HoverMast folds into a compact 72 cm diameter container carried on vehicle flatbed or roof, mounted on UGVs or All Terrain Vehicles  or small naval craft; making the system especially suited for special forces, border and port protection, and infantry missions. Since the HoverMast is tethered, it is not bound by standard air control regulations, lending itself to urban activities including urban warfare and law enforcement, and industrial, civilian and homeland security operations.

    Compared
    to the 7-5 m telescopic masts currently mounted on surveillance vehicles, HoverMast offers faster response, lighter weight, and the capability to operate on the move. Furthermore, the new platform alleviates the need to operate from a horizontal surface and is less sensitive to wind gusts. According to Shachor, the HoverMast would also be more affordable than mast mounted systems.

    Deployment is fully automatic, with HoverMast deploying from the stowed position to an elevation of 30-50 meters in just 15 seconds. A cable that also provides power supply and wideband data link tethers the vehicle. The platform uses a coaxial counter-rotating ducted fan for lift generation, with four thrusters providing station keeping, maneuvering and stabilization. At a 15 kg net platform weight HoverMast, can carry up to 9 kg of payload. The platform net weight is 10 kg, including electro-optic sensors, laser designators, radar, or signals intelligence sensors. Sensor data can be transmitted to remote clients or fed through the tether datalink to the base station.

    Photo: Sky Sapience

    Tags: ar99, Israel

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