ABBS have issued a response to the US Rapid Reaction Technology Office’s (RRTO) RFI relating to Thunderstorm for Contested Logistics.

This outlines how the Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems Limited Emergency Descent Arrest System (EDAS) can be used to provide a controlled landing in essentially all circumstances for airborne platforms for sustainment and replenishment

Technology Description:

The delivery of cargo or personnel to the battlefield by autonomous VTOL rotorcraft is a new and fast evolving alternative to delivery by piloted helicopters or aircraft parachute-drops.  New electric battery multi-rotor VTOL (eVTOL) aircraft being developed for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and AAM (Advanced Air Mobility) markets demonstrate what is possible. Novel propulsion & lift power architectures utilising hydrogen fuel-cells or micro-turbines, can extend range and payload capability over lithium-ion batteries, making VTOL cargo delivery a feasible option for both civil & military users.

With autonomous capability such aircraft can deliver higher front-line supply payloads without risking aircrew because they are unmanned. Even so, kinetic and/or electronic-attack threats are ever present in active theatre, and an uncontrolled descent and/or crash landing pose a threat to the security of both cargo and any personnel aboard the aircraft.  eVTOL aircraft cannot glide or autorotate to safety and it is clear that an autonomous safety system is required to provide a soft landing. Ballistic Parachute Recovery Systems are available and currently used in civilian light-aircraft having saved many lives over the last 20 years.  These systems comprise a whole-aircraft parachute (launched by rocket motor); but, because the parachute is sized to provide an 8–10msec-1 descent rate, require forward movement and/or a significant time during vertical descent to fully open & become effective: equating to aircraft altitude loss or safety gap between c.300 and 1,000ft before the 8–10msec-1 design descent rate is achieved.

To address the Safety Gap, retro-rocket effectors incorporated into the system can provide a controlled landing in essentially all circumstances. The retrorockets can be activated within 15m of the ground and the aircraft still soft land, meaning the aircraft can descend rapidly from height and minimise the time it is vulnerable to attack.  Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems Ltd. (ABBS), working with Aviation Safety Resources LLC (ASR) and Active Safety System Technologies LLC in the USA, are developing a system based on the same combination of parachutes and retrorockets, designed specifically for eVTOL aircraft types, and it is now proposed that the system should be considered for the autonomous cargo delivery aircraft being evaluated by the US Army for logistics and casualty-evacuation roles.

For more details about Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems Emergency Descent Arrest System, please contact us using the form below.

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    Image shows how following a VTOL aircraft emergency incident (1), the descent is arrested using a parachute canopy (2) and a retro-rocket effector is used to create a soft landing (3)