July 2010: the first commercial Mark 4 is delivered.
The Mark 4 undergoing early tests.
July–August 2010: a Superwedge HP, taken directly from field testing, completed 500 (July) and then 650 (August) launches and launch simulations. After the 500th and 650th launch, the launcher was disassembled and inspected. In each case the launcher showed little wear (leading to some suggestions for small modifications) and no significant damage. Typical launch pressure was 124 psi.
Launch tests were conducted with a prototype nose cone and payload, completing the first 500 launches for this Superwedge HP at the end of July 2010.
August 2010: a deadman handbrake is developed for the Superwedge HP.
A photo shows the hand portion of the deadman brake.
August 2010: The Mark 4 Light launcher is developed for maritime applications and for sites requiring minimal footprint.
The Mark 4 Light development drawings.
August 2010: Hood Tech Mechanical was awarded a production contract, valued at nearly $2 million for Mark 4 to support current and future UAV operations through 2011. This contract continues a relationship with a valued customer that has supported over 40,000 sorties using Hood Tech Mechanical launchers exclusively during the past 10 years.
15 units of this Mark 4 are required under the production contract.
September 2010: The Mark 4 Light is available as a commercial product.
The new Mark 4 Light, shown in the left photo deployed, and in the right photo packed for transport.
The Mark 4 Light makes available to UAV operators:
- Superior cold-weather performance
- A maritime version of the Mark 4 Commercial Integrator launcher
- Dramatically simpler electronics and correspondingly improved reliability
- Proven redundancy, with multiple small compressors in place of single-point failure
- Easier maneuvering, shipboard or on land – rear caster allows for rapid adjust to wind shifts, while sturdy A-frame kickstand provides stability and secure tie-down locations
- A launcher capable of supporting multiple UAV types with a Minimal footprint