Introduction of Concept
The proliferation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s), primarily with the military has increased dramatically over recent years. New designs, new applications, new markets, new customers and the new economics created by Globalization, have resulted in the emergence of a growing industry.
The trend will certainly continue and be led by defense and space applications. The next major step in the development of the technology will be the application of UAV’s in the battle space. A number of large aerospace companies already are testing Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles or (UCAV’s). The other trend is in miniaturization; six inch long UAV’s exist and are supposed to be performing certain military operations.
All this activity and the inevitable tremendous investment that it entails helped in the development of related technologies that a few years ago did not exist; their realization is emerging at a record pace. Propulsion, telemetry, navigation, remote control, autonomous operation, avionics, data links, etc. as they apply to UAV’s have been developed and are not only mature but also available at competitive costs.
BoXaiR is a cargo UAV, a very innovative idea uniquely addressing Globalization of World markets. BoXaiR can fly a forty-foot standard aluminum container 1000 to 2000 miles at about 100 to 280 knots.
The cargo container weight would nominally be about 40,000 to 50,000 pounds. BoXaiR therefore can haul 40,000 to 70,000 pounds of cargo from point A to point B, slide the container out through a rear ramp to a flat bed, slide a new container in and about half an hour later fly another 40,000 to 70,000 pounds to the next destination.
While the BoXaiR plane would be the largest UAV ever made, all of the related and necessary technologies currently exist. In the final design and construction of the proposed air vehicle, BoXaiR will utilize systems that have already been designed, proven, manufactured and operational.
The actual structure would resemble a C-130 in size but much simpler with about four “I” beams equivalents, rectangular orientation, one or two vertical rudders, a horizontal rear stabilizer, high “Hershey Bar” wings, two turbo-prop engines, a ramp in the tail, a removable “Gondola” in the bow and fixed landing gear. Since there is no crew, the aircraft does not require pressurization but the design must meet FAA requirements for air-worthiness.
Because proven technologies are utilized; the whole design concept results in very manageable technical risk.
The Gondola (bow section) contains all the avionics and other electronics. If need be, the Gondola could accommodate surveillance and reconnaissance equipment, SAR, FIR equipment etc.
The Gondola is connected to the airframe with quick disconnects and has facilitations to slide in and out of its place so that it could instantly be replaced with another Gondola of a different configuration. The Gondola represents another innovation and would help BoXaiR address various needs in the marketplace.
The standard aluminum container is loaded to and unloaded via a ramp located in the rear of the airplane. Inside the airplane, the container is clamped down for the flight. Weight sensing pads would instantly determine the load distribution informing the ground crew if there is a problem in balance and flight equilibrium. The ramp is designed to cooperate with flat beds for the quick removal and replacement of the container.
The ramp opening is adjustable so that it could accommodate various sized loads, i.e. pallets, 20 foot standard military containers, water and other tanks etc. The ramp design is versatile; several loading angles and it could also accommodate a parachute drop. These features represent unique innovations, increase the market for the product and reduce the risk.
The airplane can fly autonomously once points A and B are determined and is also designed to allow flight corrections from the ground.
The market potential of such a concept is really all encompassing. Distance to destination opens certain markets, while time on station caters to other applications. Autonomous operation provides advantages for certain users, while pilot intervention from the ground addresses different opportunities. BoXaiR uniquely addresses a market not presently being filled.
The commercial application could be best suited for use in Europe and North America as well as Africa, India, Asia and South America. At this present moment for a standard container to reach small towns in the inlands of Africa and even Asia and South America would mean a long and costly journey. In most of the areas this type of transportation cannot be accomplished. BoXaiR could reach such places. It needs a short runway and can land on many unimproved fields. In autonomous operation, the ground support requirements are minimal.
Most of the overseas trade in Europe is done utilizing containers. In every country there are large container ports that are being utilized at the present time and the volume is increasing, so is the size of container ships. And yet for a container to go from the port of Thessaloniki in Greece to Sofia, to Bucharest or Warsaw is an adventure. The line of trucks at these borders, in all probability, could be seen from space.
The formalities in crossing the borders are another nightmare, let alone the loss of time and, potentially, the loss of cargo. Thessaloniki has a very modern port and could be seen as the gateway for all the Balkans. BoXaiR, within its size limitations, could open the transport possibilities for all the smaller cities in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea.
In South America there exist vast areas, i.e. the Amazon, that are virtually inaccessible. Utilizing BoXaiR, one can reach those areas for supply and even for trade. The same story is true in Africa, Asia and Australia.
The applications related to defense are really immense: border patrol, surveillance, reconnaissance, continuous transportation of containers to the battlefield, station keeping, radar platform duty, refueling workhorse, not to mention gunship, drop vehicle and special bomber duties. And these are only some of the applications. The defense forces of every advanced country have the facilities to accomplish all of the above; BoXaiR could do it economically and without endangering human life.
Other applications for specially designed BoXaiR airplanes could include fire fighting. Fire fighting is a dangerous undertaking where pilot fatigue is a big
Consideration; weather conditions, nightfall and other natural phenomena make the continuous utilization of airplanes problematic. Modified fire fighting BoXaiR airplanes would work around the clock and the ground operators could take risks otherwise unacceptable when pilot life is endangered.
(In order to exploit specific international markets BoXaiR is cooperating with WORLDWIDE MARINE (WM), a company headquartered in Athens Greece; this company is authorized to market modified BoXaiR UAV’s in limited geographic areas. (WM) prepared a preliminary design for firefighting and is proceeding in formulating a very novel approach which would address a huge market).
Taking into consideration the commercial market the estimated sales of BoXaiR for the five years after the development and sale of the first prototype system is a cumulative minimum of 400 airplanes. This does not include military or firefighting airplanes. The challenge therefore would not be in the sales but in the ability of the company to produce this rapidly.
United States Patent # 6,948,681 was issued on September 27, 2005 patented by John S. Stupakis and assigned to BoXaiR Engineering Corporation of California, USA.
The subject matter of the patent and the abstract description being as follows:
Automated cargo transportation system;
A modular automated air transport system comprising an unmanned autonomous aircraft having a selectively detachable control systems portion and a structural air frame portion, wherein the structural air frame portion contains an interior cargo hold, aerodynamic members having control surfaces and at least one propulsion device attached to the structural air frame portion; and wherein the control system portion includes a control computer for autonomously controlling the flight of said air transport system from one known location to a second known location
This gives the company a comparative advantage for building and marketing large cargo UAV’s globally! There are other patent applications in the final stage of preparation, the most important one being the application that has to do with the unique way of load balancing once the container is inside the airplane.
WORLDWIDE MARINE (WM) was created specifically for the exploitation of the BoXaiR patent and related intellectual property in the world market.
WM would be ready to provide:
- Comprehensive Design package (As delineated in the Appendix)
- A Manufacturing License for the assembly of the prototypes
- A Marketing and Sales License for the sale of the end product for selected countries
- If desired and requested a consulting arrangement for support for the prototype construction
- If desired and requested a consulting arrangement for support whenever the local company reaches production status
- If desired and requested support in the initial sales activity
- If desired and requested a Follow on Support (FOS) contract
Please find below the arrangement drawing and the specifications envelope for the BoXaiR Cargo UAV. The electronics, navigation, control, communications system have been designed and are in a more advanced stage than preliminary or initial. This version would be exportable to the international markets and Olymbus has the license to negotiate the program for Romania. Assembly lines would be established in the local areas, components and subassemblies would be procured or produced locally special components could and would be imported to the assembly locations originating mainly from Greece and other EU countries.
The design to be delivered by WM to the local manufacturer would contain but not be limited to the following deliverables:
- Cargo UAV system performance envelope
- Specifications Package
- Air vehicle specifications
- Ground station specifications
- Specifications of support equipment
- Specifications of tracking, display and image transfer systems
- Specifications of loading system
- Mission Management System & Vehicle Management System, Flight Computer specification & Software
- System level arrangement drawings
- Air vehicle arrangement drawings
- Air vehicle component and subsystem drawings
- Ground Station drawings & electronic schematics
- Support equipment drawings
- Electronic circuitry and other schematics
- Harness assembly board schematics
- Loading and unloading system drawings
- Bill of Materials (BOM’s)
- Air Vehicle BOM
- Air Vehicle purchased items list & supplier details
- Ground station BOM
- Ground station purchased items list & supplier detail
- Support equipment BOM purchased items list & supplier detail
- Electronic & electrical component purchased items list & supplier details