Unmanned Systems Technology 016 | Hydromea Vertex AUV | Power management systems | Unmanned Space Vehicles | Continental CD-155 turbodiesel | Swift 020 UAV | ECUs | DSEI 2017 Show report

62 A t time of writing, the US state of Florida was being battered by the storm winds and torrential rains of Hurricane Irma, which had come hot on the heels of historically unprecedented flooding in Houston, Texas, from Hurricane Harvey and raging wildfires destroying thousands of acres of forest outside Portland, Oregon. Across the US, crews were rushing to the afflicted areas to acquire up-to- the-minute geographical intelligence and deliver critical supplies to mitigate damage and casualties. Beyond the country’s borders, airborne assets were gathering vital meteorological data about changes in Irma’s track and severity. In most cases, the relief operations continued to rely on manned vehicles and missions, despite the expense, logistical difficulty and risks facing their crews. The case has long been made that UAVs could replace and improve upon manned assets in various ways. They require less pre-flight preparation than helicopters and aircraft, consume far less power and can gather critical intelligence at speeds and altitudes that some manned craft might struggle with. However, many UAVs come with drawbacks of their own. The need for heavy and unwieldy launch and recovery systems such as catapults or nets, along with the need for routine maintenance and pre-flight equipment – and the amount of space required to take off and land safely – may be enough to put off some emergency response agencies from making the transition. Swift Engineering, based in San Clemente, California, has therefore Rory Jackson reports on how this craft was developed to overcome many of the snags with using UAVs for disaster relief Emergency response The Swift 020 is designed to take off and land on its tails, transitioning into and out of fixed-wing horizontal flight using its motors October/November 2017 | Unmanned Systems Technology