MLABs Bat Wing UAV Ornithopter Unveiled for Mission to Mars

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SAN FRANCISCO, SUAS BUSINESS EXPO, 25 JUL 13 — Stan Snow of Mountain Lake Labs files patent #61,858,116: Tri-Articulating & Morphing Bat Wing VTOL Ornithopter.

The MLABs Bat Wing is capable of 145 degrees deep sweep fore and aft in the horizontal plane. Where most ornithopters articulate wings with one to two degrees of freedom, the MLABs Bat Wing articulates thrice with also a fourth torsional rotation of the wings and individual morphing along the wingspan’s battens — creating the world’s most morphable UAV wing to date.

Each wing individually articulates for roll and yaw control. The wing system also deeply double articulates in the vertical Bat Wing Fig 1plane for efficient ornithopter flapping — bending on the upstroke and extending to scoop more air on the downstroke. Each wing is also variable in articulation on the up and downstroke.

The Bat Wing comprises several advanced ornithopter features, such as shape memory morphing of wing camber and computer-controlled torsion induced on the main wing spar — yielding closer biomimetic motion to that of bats. Maximum flying efficiency can only be achieved by computer controls of the complex wing motion somewhat similar to Festo’s Smart Bird.

With ongoing R&D, the MLABs Bat Wing will achieve unrivaled flapping efficiency by twisting the wings forward into a negative Angle of Attack on the upstroke — still yielding thrust from Coanda Effect while not flapping on the downstroke as bats do in nature. The wing system also creates one of the most aggressive maneuvering UAV’s in history — able to tuck in a wing, stall, roll, and reverse direction in less than a second.

The Bat Wing is able to greatly morph its wings for low & slow flight as a silent, stealth attack and photorecon UAV capable of carrying heavier armament such as thousands of rounds .223 and several Raytheon Pryo mini missiles. Or, the wings may be used on long-duration stratospheric and space missions in thin air due to their efficiency, long-duration power subsystems in the works, and degree of air scooping.

The wings tuck inward to carry out high speed flight or deal with high speed winds aloft and atmospheric re-entry. They were originally designed as exoskeleton wings to enable special forces extended range High Altitude High Opening (HAHO) and High Altitude Low Throttle Opening (HALTO) tactics pioneered by MLABs.

HALTO, a more obscure concept, is very similar to a HALO jump’s stealth but with throttle applied a few hundred feet above ground and transitioning to nap-of-the-earth flight to the target — usually about 1 to 3 feet off the ground; Attacking as a silent owl or bat by night after a stratospheric air drop. Propellers, turbines, and rockets are used in other variants.

The retracting wing system being highly stowable is meant to serve the soldier’s portability needs in the field and for naval UAV storage & transport needs, such as in submarine and SEAL missions. Where equipped with the lab’s long-duration, fuel-less, micropower subsystems, Mountain Lake Labs has also been preparing the Bat Wings for planetary missions, such as a Mars Explorer probe able to carry out atmospheric skyskip, aerobraking, ballistic reentry, and transition to sailplane flight.

Mountain Lake Labs is presently studying potential partners on the Bat Wing’s further development.