Aircraft builders with an active imagination might see a new twin-engine SubSonex in this photo, but don’t count on it. Sonex has been open about its drone project for some time, but now it’s officially broken cover. It’s not alone in using an Experimental design as the basis for a military UAV. Pakistan has done it. India has done it. China, too. Here’s the report from our sister site, AVweb.com.
Fans of Sonex Aircraft will find familiarity in the latest jet-powered unmanned air vehicle (UAV) released today at the AUVSI Xponential convention in Orlando, Florida. Warminster-Pennsylvania-based Navmar Applied Sciences Corporation (NASC) has partnered with Oshkosh, Wisconsin-based Sonex on a twin-engine version of its SubSonex Personal Jet kit plane. Known as the NASC Tracer, the newly announced aircraft is described as “a low-cost, high-performance UAV designed for speed, versatility and survivability.”
The Tracer and its co-developed Mobile Operations Center offer the department of defense (DoD) and civilian customers “a high-speed and reliable platform for the development and testing of various technologies,” said NASC. Bryan Hazlett, VP of the company’s UAS (unmanned aerial systems) sector, said, “Developing what we at NASC consider a ‘Best Value, Low Risk’ UAV alternative to larger and more expensive options is a proud moment for all of us.”
NASC cites the airframe’s multiple payload locations, including potential for under-wing and centerline pods and within a nose radome, enabling “a wide variety of advanced payload systems.” The Tracer’s 18-foot wingspan and light weight (max takeoff weight less than 1,500 pounds) generates a much smaller footprint than traditional, larger UAVs.
And NASC said, “The easily field-maintainable aircraft is intended for a wide range of operations including Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T), reconnaissance, counter-UAS, communication relay, insertion into contested airspace, electronic warfare, research and development, military training activities and many other mission sets.”