PATUXENT RIVER, Md: The Navy has decided for full fielding of the T-Hawk Micro Air Vehicle after incorporating several improvements to the system.
Full fielding signifies that all system capability improvements have been tested, evaluated, and proven to be operationally suitable and logistically supportable.
NAVAIR’s Navy and Marine Corps Small and Tactical Unmanned Air Systems program office at Patuxent River, PMA-263, purchased a total of 90 systems from Honeywell.
“This is a critical asset to field to the front in response to Joint Explosive Ordinance Disposal units’ urgent need. It’s a timely 75 percent solution,” said Capt. J.R. Brown, program manager. “The T-Hawk is being used by joint force EOD units in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other locations, to locate and identify Improvised Explosive Devices. Delivery of the 90 systems is scheduled to be complete by December.”
In an effort to reduce the number of pre-setup tasks for the operator, the Block II variant of the T-HAWK, RQ-16B, is now equipped with an automatic fuel-air mixture control. This eliminates the need for operators to manually tune the carburetor prior to each flight.
Additions to the system to improve situational awareness include the installation of a Gimbaled Electro-Optical or Infra-Red payload and a digital video radio. The cameras enable operators to stabilize the camera on the target while the video radio allows better compliance with theater frequency spectrum requirements.
“Enhancements made to the T-Hawk will greatly improve safety for EOD technicians during system set-up and operation, and improve situational awareness while prosecuting an incident site,” said Lt. Col. James Roudebush, integrated product team lead for Navy Tier 1 Unmanned Aircraft Systems.