Katana Mono-Wing Rotorcraft Nano Air Vehicle

The Katana Mono-Wing Rotorcraft is a coin-sized one-bladed helicopter. This week, DARPA gave Lockheed a half-million dollars to continue development. Katana is intended for "indoor military missions."


(Katana Mono-Wing Rotorcraft)

"NAV platforms will be revolutionary in their ability to harness low Reynolds number physics, navigate in complex environments, and communicate over significant distances," according to DARPA's Dr Todd Hylton.

The Reynolds number is the ratio between inertial forces and viscous forces arising where fluids such as air flow over solid surfaces such as aircraft wings. It is generally high for big, fast things like normal aircraft; but flying critters such as bats and insects - whose capabilities DARPA would like to achieve in their NAV - operate in low-Reynolds-number flight regimes.

Lockheed has already done development work on a predecessor aircraft, based on the whirling maple seed ("samara"). This device was called "Samarai." (See the previous article Nano Air Vehicle Floats Like Maple Seed.)


(Nano air vehicle prototype)

Science fiction fans easily recognize such devices as

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