The current development of the Snowflake ADS includes integrating it with the UAS in order to deliver a complete, self-contained mobile combat system for precise aero delivery with global reach capability. To this end, the Arcturus T-20 UAS by Arcturus-UAV presents an ideal deployment platform. The T-20 UAS is Arcturus UAV’s newest and largest vehicle (Fig.U). With a 17’ wingspan, this Tier II class vehicle offers the ability to carry up to 65lbs of payload in excess of 16 hours. It is powered by a versatile 10 horsepower 4 stroke engine offering smooth, quiet and efficient power. With most of the fuel carried in the wings, T20 has a massive payload bay measuring 11½”×11½”×34” clear, with more available. Avionics are carried in the aft portion of the fuselage.
Figure U. Atcturus T-20 UAS.
The T-20 features molded modular construction for ease of parts replacement. The live skin hinging system ensures control surface integrity and low maintenance. The T-20 is pneumatically launched and belly landed. This allows the vehicle to operate from austere unimproved locations. No runway is needed to fly. A replaceable belly skid absorbs the abrasion and is changed in minutes. Any reasonably level open space is all you need to operate. A retracting sensor gives a full 360º unobstructed field of view.
Compared to the old design, the new Snowflake box, intended to be used with the T-20 UAS (Fig.Va) was manufactured by Arcturus from a carbon-fiber composite material and is twice as light as the old system, which was housed inside a heavy Pelican-1200 case. The size of the new system coincides with the size of the inner compartment of the Pelican-1200 case. This new design can now be used in the same manner as the previous design, but it can also be a part of a bigger payload container as shown in Fig.Vb.
Figure V. The new Snowflake avionics enclosure (a) and a payload pod (b).
In the case of a small payload (sensors, meshcards / network nodes) the inner payload bay of Arcturus T-20 UAS can host up to a dozen Snowflakes. The larger containers (Fig.Vb) are hung under the wing as shown in Fig.W.
Figure W. Snowflake ADS under the wing of Arcturus T-20 UAV (a) and a complete ready-to-go Blizzard system on a catapult.
In October of 2009 the Blizzard system was demonstrated at Precision Airdrop Technology Conference and Demonstration (PATCAD) at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground.