Quiet Canadian UAV looks to cash-in on DHS grants

Draganflyer X6 robo-copter fills UAV niche.

Draganfly Innovations Inc

Here's a three armed, six-rotor, unmanned helicopter nimble enough to fly indoors but tough enough to withstand winds of up to 18mph outdoors and, best of all, it doesn't sound like a log-chipper on crack.

The differential thrust from the Draganflyer X6's six rotors, arranged as three counter-rotating co-axial pairs mounted on the tip of each arm, is what makes for its zippy maneuver performance, according to Draganfly Innovations Inc. (Videos) It's also what accounts for the stealthy sound output. While hovering, the X6 produces less than less than 60dB at 9 feet, according to the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan based company.

The Draganflyer collapses into a 5.5 inch diameter tube that can be carried slung over the user's back. Eleven seperate sensors and thousands of lines of code stabilize it during flight, making it easier to fly than any other helicopter in its class, according to the company. It also features some cool running lights.

As far as the nomenclature, what at first glance appears to be a clumsy play on Boeing X-150 Dragonfly demo program is actually a takeoff of the developer's name.

Zenon and Christine Dragan started out as small mail-order business specializing in radio controlled flying machines in 1998 and then moved up to fill that class of UAVs that lie somewhere the models piloted by hobbyists and those approaching full size aircraft.The X6 machines are designed for aerial photography, including everything from search and rescue to music videos.

Being Canadian hasn't kept the company from cashing in on stateside, government largesse. Draganfly provides "grant writing support, consultation, and assistance" to customers looking for Department of Homeland Security grants.

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    The military establishment's ever increasing reliance on technology and whiz-bang gadgetry impacts us as consumers, investors, taxpayers and ultimately as the defended. Our mission here is to bring some of these products and concepts to your attention based on carefully selected criteria such as importance to national security, originality, collateral damage to the treasury and adaptability to yard maintenance-but not necessarily in that order. E-mail him at markr@milapp.com. Disclosure.

     

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