|This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (August 2012)|
US$ 2 million (predicted)
The Aereon WASP (Wide Aperture Surveillance Platform) is a conceptual STOL UAV craft designed by the Aereon Corporaton. Unlike other ventures such as the Dynairship, the WASP is a heavier-than-air craft, but still retains the lifting body capability that is common in Aereon's other designs. The basic idea and designs were unveiled on Aereon's website on 12 November 2002.
Design and Development
The WASP design builds on Aereon's previous manned generation of surveillance platforms. The WASP UAV was designed to show Aereon's recognition of the fact that future aerial warfare was most likely to be carried out by unmanned craft. Aereon claims that the design builds on their 40 years of research into "aerodynamic, aerostatic and rotary wing" crafts.
The WASP UAV was primarily designed to offer low-cost covert observation capacity in littoral zones. Aereon's unique deltoid airframe shape caters to this role well, giving "360 degree radar coverage". However, according to Aereon, it has multi modular payload capabilities, and therefore can also carry armament (see below) and various other supplies, both military and civilian. Aereon states that the large payload-carrying capabilities of the WASP UAV gives scope for a large spectrum of missions to be carried out.
The WASP UAV was designed to be a direct competitor to the E-2C Hawkeye, and the design, according to Aereon, boasts a 60% larger surface area than the Hawkeye and has a predicted unit cost of under 2 million dollars, compared to the Hawkeye's 80 million.
The following is a closing statement from the Aereon website, describing the WASP UAV:[full citation needed]
"Envisioned to be the next generation of tactical surveillance aircraft, WASP UAV will allow the armed services to extend their reach with a cost-effective, multi-mission platform. It will allow time sensitive, in-theatre, sensor-shooter responses with the additional capability to deliver a broad array of payloads. Providing radar coverage, troop re-supply, and ordinance [sic] deployment, the WASP UAV will give the military the knowledge advantage needed for networked surveillance and time-sensitive strike operations, in littoral environments for joint force operations, well into the future."
The WASP will be able to carry the following conventional weaponry:
- Stand-off missiles
- Much smaller Tactical UAV Systems (TUAV's)
- Various other Smart Weaponry
The following surviellience equipment will be able to be carried on the WASP: