A2LE Platform Launched from MQ-20 Avenger UAS

The demonstration took place over Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, where an Advanced Air-Launched Effects (A2LE) was released from the Avenger unmanned aerial system (UAS) internal weapons bay By Joe Macey / 02 Feb 2024
GA-ASI Demonstrates Release of A2LE from MQ-20 Avenger UAS
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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has demonstrated an inflight release of its Advanced Air-Launched Effects (A2LE) platform, releasing an A2LE from the internal weapons bay of a GA-ASI MQ-20 Avenger Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). 

The demonstration took place in November 2023 over Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, capping a manufacturing, structural test, and flight demonstration.

GA-ASI’s design and engineering team partnered with Divergent Technologies, Inc. for the A2LE vehicle design and build, matching GA-ASI’s aircraft design expertise with the Divergent Adaptive Production System (DAPS™) to support rapid, low-cost manufacturing of the demonstration vehicle.

“This demonstration was a crucial first step in demonstrating GA-ASI’s ability to rapidly develop, manufacture, and test a small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) in a controlled, low-risk approach,” said Mike Atwood, Vice President of Advanced Programs at GA-ASI. “A2LE demonstrates the coupling of GA-ASI’s pedigreed aircraft design capabilities with Divergent’s DAPS, paving the way for continued maturation of affordable, modular SUAS platforms that can be tailored to meet warfighter needs at a fraction of the cost and lead time of currently fielded systems.”

The demonstration vehicle airframe was 100 percent additively manufactured and was designed to meet the captive carriage and ejection loads of the jet-powered aircraft with internal weapons bays. The topology-optimized AM structure was validated via proof and pit ejection testing prior to the flight demonstration.

The demonstration highlighted the design efficiencies that can be realized when AM is incorporated early in the design process and throughout the vehicle. It was also a key step in validating the AM process and material properties for incorporation in future systems to be employed by both manned and unmanned platforms.

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