The challenges of taking off and landing a drone on a moving ship in the middle of the sea are numerous. It is in this particularly dangerous context that the Transwing X-P4 drone from the Pterodynamics company stood out. With an innovative architecture, this eVTOL can land vertically on a moving ship, even in rough seas, before transforming into an airplane to cover long distances.
This feat is no mean feat, as the autonomous take-off and landing of a drone on a moving ship requires an exceptional ability to anticipate the ship’s trajectories and movements, as well as the potential effects of strong wind. The drone’s autonomy is crucial in this scenario, and it is precisely this capability that the Transwing X-P4 was able to successfully demonstrate during tests carried out with the US Navy near the coast of Florida, in the United States.
The originality of this aircraft lies in its unique architecture. In eVTOL mode, the back of the drone has a V-shaped tail, and its two wings, once deployed, transform it into an aircraft equipped with four engines. This transition from vertical to horizontal mode takes place thanks to an ingenious mechanic: the wings pivot and fold back, thus aligning in the direction of the fuselage.
The engines, now pointed upwards, allow for a soft landing, with the end of the fairing serving as the landing leg. Prior to these sea trials, the Transwing X-P4 underwent extensive testing, including operations in high winds on a moving truck. The aircraft, compact on the ground, has a large wingspan in cruise, thus combining the advantages of VTOLs without their disadvantages.
Its impressive features include a wingspan of four meters, a payload capacity of almost seven kilograms, a maximum mass of 38 kilograms and a range of 111 kilometers, covered in one hour, with a maximum speed of 185 kilometers/h.