Hovermast

Not UK in origin but I am thinking about a post on elevating masts and thought this was interesting

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://skysapience.com/”]
Hovermast
Hovermast

One of the great disadvantages of small quadcopter type unmanned aircraft is their poor endurance so until battery technology or motor efficiency makes a big leap tethering provides unlimited endurance if all you need is a high vantage point.

If you need to move horizontally then of course this isn’t any use but tethering also mean you don’t have to transmit your sensor feed into the air for others to detect and you are not bandwidth constrained.

For recce purposes, put one of these on the back of a Jackal or even Fres SV Scout and you have a very useful uplift in capacity for not a lot of money.

Supporting an infantry patrol, a simple omnidirectional camera and radio rebroadcast payload could reduce the battery load on the dismounted personnel

Seems to me to one of those brilliantly simple ideas that has everyone thinking, why didn’t we think of that.

Which means of course, it won’t enter service despite its obvious benefits!

 

 

H/T Paul G

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S O
S O
September 15, 2013 10:56 am

The Hungarians were the first…1918.

http://www.bredow-web.de/Hubschrauber/Fesselhubschrauber_mit_Koaxialrotor/fesselhubschrauber_mit_Koaxialrotor.html

This is one of those cases where one should be sceptical about the concept simply because it has been rejected over and over again for generations after its invention despite plenty attempts to introduce it.
(Germany had attempts during the late 30’s and the early 70’s, for example).

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
September 15, 2013 11:49 am

The US was investigating a similar concept for their RST-V awhile back:

“COVER (Commander’s Observation Vehicle for Elevated Reconnaissance) features an existing compact, electrically-tethered, ducted-fan lifting vehicle (Aerobot) mated to an existing highly-mobile, transportable vehicle (Flyer II ) that is representative of future scout and reconnaissance vehicles. The Phase I Design Study for DARPA by Perceptronics and its team members Moller International and Flyer Group includes review of mission applications, focusing on those currently identified for the RST-V and similar advanced vehicles.”

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/rst-v.htm

Paul R
Paul R
September 15, 2013 11:51 am

Do you really need a drone for this? You could have have an extendable pole with a ball instead.
I don’t think this is a concept worth the money, unless it can untether itself, even then I question the cost of the benefit.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
September 15, 2013 11:56 am

@ SO – rarely is there a truly new idea put forward but just because they were rejected in the past does not necessary mean they were not viable and even so, new technology/situations may make them viable today.

S O
S O
September 15, 2013 12:02 pm

Well, the tethered helicopter can hover at much greater altitude than achievable with a mast.

Really long masts also require quite some time for setting up and retracting.

The tethered helicopter could in theory remain on station while the vehicle moves (it just shouldn’t pass any overhead obstacles!).

The tethered helicopter also doesn’t need to hover directly above the vehicle, thus it doesn’t necessarily give away the exact location of the mother vehicle to battlefield radars.

The Other Chris
September 15, 2013 12:16 pm
Repulse
September 15, 2013 12:38 pm

Can you strap Crownest off one and hook it to the back of a T45 :)

Opinion3
Opinion3
September 15, 2013 3:45 pm

The engineering challenges of this idea (as with a tethered blimp) are too big for it to be worthwhile IMHO. There is always the issue of the weight of the cable.

My dissertation was on submarine telecommunications cables and the stress testing. It was interesting because until I embarked on the project I had never thought about the forces involved in laying and recovering the cables. Yes the lengths and depths were in miles, but the weight in salt water helped. Fifty meters is not really worthwhile,

I think this is why research on a laser powered craft is taking place. I do think a blimp could be useful to take the weight. There would be no objective of trying to be discreet it would be like flying the flag.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
September 15, 2013 4:58 pm

For surveillance I think this is inferior to a small UAV, but for other uses such as a communications or other payloads like radar and ELINT. It will be interesting to see how it is developed but at the moment I see it as being more useful to the civilian market where UAV’s aren’t as available.

Peter
Peter
September 15, 2013 9:53 pm

I can’t see that working particularly well. That doesn’t look like it’d take .22, let alone 7.62×39 sprayed liberally at it. I think it might be more of a hazard to the troops underneath it when it comes down.

Surely the real benefit would be at sea with a huge tethered helicopter hoisting a SAMSON radar pretty high up. (which would then die a nasty death as soon as there is significant wind)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
September 15, 2013 10:52 pm

Oh for heaven’s sake. 50 metres up is hardly a big deal.

Helium, and stop complicating things. Send it 1000 metres up to stop it being shot at, without the need for a whiney generator, to cost about 1/10th of the system price, and to gain 4.5 times the line of sight. Putting a 6 kg payload up 1,000 metres with a power and data tether is child’s play.

Little known fact in the world of land-based aerial surveillance: 50 metres up is about the windiest place to be. Sod all use for surveillance, and requires very expensive stabilisation. Bet the smart guys in the American video don’t have anything to say about that.

Observer
Observer
September 15, 2013 10:55 pm

Peter, surprisingly, an aerial target is incredibly hard to hit at range. Think it had something to do with how human eyes estimate distance and droppage, when aiming at the sky, the round fired drops a fair distance below the point where you are aiming at because you are firing the round at a slant, which makes people underestimate the distance the round has to travel.

As for the UAV comparison, I can think of one advantage, on the spot hovering. Fixed wing UAVs can’t stop in midair or they will stall and crash, which means that sometimes, you can’t get a persistent look at your target, the UAV has to fly past, then make a circuit to approach the target again. On the other hand, the tactic to counter this is for the UAV to orbit in front of the target and rotate the camera as the UAV turns.

Not to say I’d recommend this Hovermast, it can work, but there are other more flexible options to choose from.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
September 15, 2013 11:02 pm

@Observer

“I understand and can see evidence of what the helicopter has done for naval warfare. I have yet to be convinced of the value of 10 TEU buried deep with the hull beyond perhaps giving Clubs an indoor play area or the galley extra stores space”

It is called a button push the designers of UAVS somehow realised that they would have to send back a continuous feed over a fixed point and pre programmed it :)

MikeM
MikeM
September 16, 2013 2:49 am

This is great, because it stabilizes on the move. Small boats can now inspect larger ships. It gives a great vantage point on any situation in a short amount of time. The key with this product is the stabilization, where previous masts were unable to do this on the move and counter the effect of strong winds. There is quite a bit of things a hover mast can do, while saving money and not having drones in civilian airspace. It is quite useful for homeland security. As for the military, I think we are just scratching the surface with its capabilities. As systems like this grow I see a huge cost effective multi use tool for ground and naval forces. Large balloons are not always convenient and are terrible in poor weather conditions.

Alex
Alex
September 16, 2013 8:33 am

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focke_Achgelis_Fa_330 – WW2 German towed rotary kite, used to increase the engagement envelope of ocean-going U-boats.

there’s a wonderful quote from the RN intelligence report after they captured one, to the effect that if the sub had to crash dive, they just dropped the tether and the observer autorotated down to the water and “drowned in the usual way”. elegant engineering, but I don’t think I’d volunteer.

Observer
Observer
September 16, 2013 9:57 am

APATs, don’t think that was me. I hope. The memory’s the first to go, but I suspect that may have been obsvr, not me.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
September 16, 2013 12:25 pm

@observer

Sorry, not only did I refer to the wrong poster I then pasted in a comment from a third. Then I went to bed without even checking it.
Numpty that I am.