Advanced Aircraft company (AAC) has announced that the Hercules unmanned aerial system (UAS) will begin customer deliveries in December 2017, the company said.
Customers placing an order with a 20% deposit by September 1, 2017 will receive a 10% discount. The base model price of the Hercules UAS is USD 60,000 USD. The discounted price is USD 54,000 USD with a USD 10,800 USD deposit placed by September 1, 2017.
The Hercules is a unique long endurance multi-rotor UAS that incorporates two new technologies. The aircraft incorporates a series hybrid electric propulsion system and has patent-pending aerodynamic design improvements. These two technologies enable the aircraft to fly up to 3.5 hours or carry a 4 pound payload for 2 hours. The aircraft has a 36 pound gross weight and is intended for FAA Part 107 operations. Hercules is useful for many applications that benefit from long endurance such as precision agriculture, mapping, first responders, and infrastructure inspection.
The Hercules UAS offers unique advantages to the UAS fleet operator. The increase in flight time dramatically improves the utilization of the workforce, enabling up to 45% reduction in the cost per acre for the operator to acquire data. The increased payload capacity avoids repeat overflights that may be currently require swapping payloads needed for complete data acquisition. The logistical footprint of the system is small because there is no need for a generator, battery charger, or extra batteries. Simply add more gas to the aircraft and takeoff again. 3 gallons of fuel is enough energy to fly the aircraft for the whole day. Finally, busy operators can break even on the capital investment of a Hercules over a battery powered multi-rotor in as little as 11 weeks.
The aircraft is designed to be easily customizable for each fleet operator´s needs. The design incorporates 2 modular payload bays. The first is the nose payload bay which is intended for a 1 to 2 pound camera turret. The second is the center of gravity payload bay. This bay can be used for additional payload or may contain a second fuel tank for the longer endurance flights. The aircraft supplies 50 watts at 28 VDC to the payload bays.
Advanced Aircraft company (AAC) is an aeronautical engineering and aircraft manufacturing company based in Hampton, Virginia. AAC produces vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAS targeting commercial and military markets. AAC was founded in 2015 by Bill Fredericks, a former aerospace engineer at the NASA Langley Research Center where he led the development of NASA´s Greased Lightning UAS technology. Additionally, he served as an artillery officer in the US Marine Corps and is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).