Storage, transport, pre-flight preparation and launching and recovery of mid size fixed wing UAV’s requires specialized conditions—especially during wet, dusty or cold weather. UAV’s are complex, costly and potentially dangerous to the pilots and pedestrians. For these reasons it is critical to inspect and maintain the aircraft while in the field. DDIS has designed and built an innovative mobile command and launch trailer that supports the needs and logistics of staging an aerial mission. This consists of a heavy duty launch trailer with operable roof doors that open to the sky. It can securely store transport, launch up to 4 drones with wing spans of 7 ft. This includes a climate controlled pre-flight preparation work bench that provides all tools and checklists for maintenance of the aircraft before and after flights. Since many UAV operations are at night this command center supports a 3 person team for 8 hour shifts.
The first two animated illustrations at the left show several means to launch UAVs from within the trailer. The first is a rail launcher catapult shown by the dashed line. This can be angled to nearly vertical to quickly clear forest or jungle canopy.
The third and fourth illustration shows the deployment of the recovery net. This is also used in rugged terrain where landing a fixed wing is not possible or dangerous. This large bungee net can be positioned for optimal safe consistent landings of the UAV.
The final illustration shows the proprietary DDIS aerostat balloon. This custom balloon is winched out through the large roof doors and flies from the crank-up mooring mast. This 12 ft balloon can loft a a 10 lb UAV up to 1000 ft . It can then remotely start up all systems and release the aircraft on demand. This altitude dramatically increases the range and loiter time of the UAV. The lighter than air gas give your vehicle altitude, its limited battery power is saved to give it additional range. The concept then RECOVER (snag) them at the end of the mission. This is done with balloons trailing cargo net shown in the illustration. The planes nose securely hooks to the net and it is then rapidly winched down inside the launch trailer. Images and data are immediately offloaded, batteries charged and the craft positioned for another mission.
Flight Safety: During the launch, flight and recovery operations staff are safely within the launch trailer.