The Challenger

the DRACO-2 uas

The DRACO-2 is designed to fly non-stop and un-refueled for 4500 nautical miles (8800 kilometers). It launches from a standard runway, and provides near-real-time video from on-board the air vehicle for the first 150 miles of flight. At cruise altitude, it then switches to high-resolution, low-light, on-board cameras that are updated every 5 seconds and provide a view of the aircraft path and the air vehicle's location over land or water. Day or night, good weather or bad, the Rapier has the capability of flying for days without stopping or refueling. 

For added safety, the DRACO-2 has a unique, proprietary sense-and-avoid sensor suite that detects objects that may conflict with the air vehicle's flight path - and can instantly turn right or left, climb or descend - to autonomously avoid anything in its way...even as small as a bird. The DRACO-2 can even fly safely on two rotors - and every essential system on board is  redundant to assure mission completion.

The DRACO-2 is controlled via satellite, and is in constant communication with both the Launch and Recover Element ("LRE" - located at the launch point in Japan) and Mission Control Element ("MCE" - located at the destination landing point of Moffett Field, Mountain View, California, USA). The air vehicle is monitored by two pilots on the ground, in constant contact with Air Traffic Control. The trip is expected to last about 45 hours - and provide spectacular views of the air vehicle and its flight path - both day and night - while in flight. 

The entire flight - from takeoff, climb, cruise and landing - will be available on the Pacific Drone ChallengeTM website.


Type: Fixed Wing Quad Rotor

Wingspan: 30ft 1in (9.144 meters)

Fuselage Length: 20ft 2in (6.13 meters)

Height (Gear Retracted): 6ft 9in (2.01 meters)

Empty Weight: 612 lbs (278 kg)

Maximum Gross Weight: 2556 lbs (1157 kg)

Maximum Speed: 118 knots

Range: 4,950 nm (8,334 km)


Power: Hybrid-Electric Drive

Propulsion: (Four) Electric Propulsion motors

Max power, each motor: 24kW

Cruise power, each motor: 14kW


C3: Cobham Aviator 200 UAV Satcom

Satellite: Inmarsat

Transponder: uAvionix Ping 200SR Mode-S/ADS-B

Sense-And-Avoid: Attollo Engineering WASP-LRF 200/100

Autopilot: Cloud Cap Technologies Piccolo II