Desert Hawk Small UAS: Aircraft profile

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Mission

The Desert Hawk Small Unmanned Aircraft System or UAS provides real-time overhead video imagery for Air Force security forces providing force protection, air base defense and convoy protection.

Desert Hawk Small UAS: Staff Sgt. Joesph Vialpando uses a bungee cord catapult to launch a Desert Hawk force protection airborne surveillance system aircraft for a night surveillance mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance Cheung)Desert Hawk Small UAS: Staff Sgt. Joesph Vialpando uses a bungee cord catapult to launch a Desert Hawk force protection airborne surveillance system aircraft for a night surveillance mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance Cheung)

Desert Hawk is part of the integrated base defense system.

Features

The Desert Hawk UAS features six air vehicles or AVs, a ground control station, remote video terminal, day-night camera capability, transportation cases, launch equipment and ground spares and equipment. A two-person crew using a bungee-cord catapult system launches the Desert Hawk. Desert Hawk can be autonomously flown using a laptop computer with dynamic re-tasking and on-demand manual steering override. A two-bladed propeller driven by an electric motor powers the Desert Hawk.

Desert Hawk Small UAS: BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) -- Senior Airman David Tillery (left) and Tech. Sgt. Lloyd Joyner look over Desert Hawk after a mission.Desert Hawk Small UAS: BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) -- Senior Airman David Tillery (left) and Tech. Sgt. Lloyd Joyner look over Desert Hawk after a mission.

Background

Developed by Lockheed Martin, Desert Hawk's original concept was to provide a ring of protection around air bases at forward locations for Air Force security forces. In July 2002, systems were delivered to the Air Force as part of the Force Protection Airborne Surveillance System requirement.

Desert Hawk Small UAS: KIRKUK AIR BASE, Iraq -- Senior Airman Jonathan Hobbs pulls a Desert Hawk surveillance plane back in preparation to be launched with a bungee cord.Desert Hawk Small UAS: KIRKUK AIR BASE, Iraq -- Senior Airman Jonathan Hobbs pulls a Desert Hawk surveillance plane back in preparation to be launched with a bungee cord.

Desert Hawk was rapidly fielded to support security forces deployed in U. S. Central Command's area of operations. It has proven its worth supporting not only Air Force assets but also Army forces involved in convoy protection and base defense.

Desert Hawk Small UAS: An Airman readies a Desert Hawk Unmanned Aircraft System for launch.Desert Hawk Small UAS: An Airman readies a Desert Hawk Unmanned Aircraft System for launch.

General Characteristics

Primary Function: Real-time force protection and reconnaissance, and perimeter assessment
Contractor: Lockheed Martin
Power Plant: Electric motor, rechargeable lithium ion batteries
Wingspan: 4.3 feet (1.31 meters)
Length: 2 feet 10 in (.8 meters)
Weight: (aerial vehicle) 7 lbs (3.2 kilograms)
Speed: 35-55 mph (30-48 knots)
Operating Altitude: 200-1000 ft air ground level (AGL) (60-300meters)
Initial Operating Capability: 2002
System Cost: approximately $224,000 (2004 dollars)
Payload: High resolution, day/night camera and thermal imager
Inventory: Classified

Source: USAF

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