The QinetiQ Target Systems Hercules pneumatic launcher can launch Unmanned Air Vehicles with an all-up-weight of up to 250kg and can achieve and maximum launch speed of 55m/s. The Hercules uses a low pressure pneumatic system operating at up to 10 bar. The design of the launcher provides a smooth acceleration along the entire length of the 16-metre launch rail which, for ease of transportation, can be folded. The launcher shuttle accepts a range of custom adapters for different Unmanned Air Vehicle types and is arrested at the end of the launch rail by a water brake system.
The Hercules launcher can be deployed rapidly and the dual compressors ensure that the Banshee launch pressure is reached in as little as five minutes. A differential hydraulic drive system is provided for manoeuvring the launcher at the launch site and independently-controlled hydraulic support legs provide a kneeling facility to allow a degree of levelling.
The launcher is operated by one person from a remote control panel to ensure safety is maintained. Turn-around time is kept to a minimum as the launcher can be pressurised while the shuttle is being reset.
The launcher is mounted on a single-axle trailer with pneumatic suspension and brakes. The trailer, which is equipped with a NATO tow hitch, has UK Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA).
Launch speeds to 55 metres/second
Air vehicles to 250kg mass
Low pressure system
Simple design and operation
Easy maintenance and repair
Low acquisition cost
Fast turnaround time
Aerial target powered by a twin-jet engine
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