LAUNCHERS

Hood Tech Mechanical develops and produces launch systems for unmanned aircraft systems (UASs).  The launchers have been used for more than 40,000 launches in support of military and civilian operations worldwide.  The current state-of-the-art launch systems – the Superwedge HP and the Mark 4 – form the core of Hood Tech’s launch products.  Both were developed by Hood Tech Mechanical and are currently manufactured by the same.

Hood Tech Mechanical’s launchers are mobile, versatile and built for harsh environments.  For example, a UAV that lacks any hard points for launching purposes may engage the launcher via patented gripper system adapted to both Superwedge HP and Mark 4 launch systems.  The gripper gently secures the fragile airframe to the launcher for acceleration, and then it releases without altering the launch trajectory or attitude of the aircraft.  For aircraft with under-wing engagement means, a different type of carriage is used.  The user simply chooses the appropriate carriage and adjusts the launch pressure accordingly.  Specialized attachment methods can be retrofit to any of Hood Tech’s launchers for a variety of unmanned aircraft.

A patented gripper system securely holds the wing and body of composite aircraft.

MARK 4

The Mark 4 is the latest of Hood Tech Mechanical's launch systems, developed to accommodate the need for multiple aircraft types.  As with Superwedge HP, the Mark 4 makes use of composite and metallic materials, practical engineering, and proven assembly techniques to provide users with a rugged machine built for harsh environments

Mark 4 Specifications
Launch Energy, kJ 56
Max speed, m/s 32
Max launch pressure, psig (bar) 3000 (204)
Overall dimensions, feet (m) L x W x H deployed 21 x 3 x 5 (6.4 x 0.9 x 1.5)
Overall dimensions, feet (m) L x W x H packed-out 14 x 3 x 5 (4.3 x 0.9 x 1.5)
Compressor type Gas, diesel or electric, 9 SCFM typical
Typical fill time (varies somewhat, depending on aircraft mass, headwind, etc.) Approx. 15 minutes
Endures salt spray and other harsh environments Yes
Engine cooling system 10 A, 3PH 208VAC blower with variable frequency drive and auto-retract


SUPERWEDGE HP

The successor to the highly regarded Superwedge, the Superwedge HP (High Pressure) provides more launch energy to achieve higher launch speeds and/or to handle heavier aircraft.  It is built on the same chassis as the earlier model Superwedge, and it provides the same mobility, stability, minimal footprint, ruggedness and simplicity of operation as the earlier model.  The Superwedge HP features an elegant means of first accelerating and then decelerating the launch carriage, providing for smooth and powerful launch runs.

Incorporating improvements as they are continuously developed, Hood Tech Mechanical builds on its already strong product set to avoid design stagnation.  The characteristics of the Superwedge HP are shown in the following table:

Superwedge HP Specifications
Launch Energy, kJ 23
Max speed, m/s 32
Max launch pressure, psig (bar) 124 (8.4)
Overall dimensions, feet L x W x H deployed (m) 16 x 3 x 12 (4.9 x 0.9 x 3.7)
Overall dimensions, feet  L x W x H packed-out (m) 17 x 3 x 6 (5.2 x 0.9 x 1.8)
Compressor type Onboard, electric, 3.88 CFM @ 8 bar, 16.6A @120 Volts, 8.3A @ 230 Volts
Typical fill time (varies somewhat, depending on aircraft mass, headwind, etc.) Approx. 6 minutes
Endures salt spray and other harsh environments Yes
Engine cooling system 9 A, 120VAC, high velocity blower with auto-retract

We anticipate that further changes will be developed and incorporated as new technologies are identified and/or customer demands and needs change.