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First successful test flight of Coyote UAV: BAE Systems

A file photo of Coyote UAV

TUCSON (BNS): First successful test flight of electric-powered Coyote unmanned aircraft system on a WP-3D Orion aircraft was done by BAE Systems, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The system deployed in midair from a 3-foot-long sonobuoy dropped from a P-3 aircraft.

The Coyote UAV is seen as a landmark in the development of military uses and scientific researches.

"This is a major step forward for this innovative and one-of-a-kind system," said John Wall, vice president of aviation programs for BAE Systems said in the release.

According to a news release by BAE System, the UAV Coyote weighs only 13 pounds and has a 58-inch wingspan. During freefall, the system is designed to emerge from a sonobuoy, unfold its wings, and begin a directed flight path. Equipped with sensors or cameras, it can perform intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions while the host aircraft remains in safe airspace.

"Small unmanned aircraft systems are important tools that can help us to improve our understanding of the environment," said Lt. Cmdr. Nancy Ash, NOAA manager for the Coyote project said in the release.

NOAA will further test the system's suitability in a hurricane or tropical storm for measuring wind speed and other critical data of forecasting.

"The Coyote has demonstrated the potential to provide researchers with valuable observations of high-wind environments," he added.

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