Embention, a company specialized in unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAV), presented yesterday a new UAS system for nighttime firefighting, based in “smart” bombs, at the Technical University of Valencia.
David Benavente, Embention founder, explains that Flamingo is similar to a UAV, but it is not propelled. The system, which measures 2.65 meters, loads retardant for a direct attack on the fire.
Flamingo is composed of two elements for firefighting
An guidance unit which embeds inertial & GPS sensors and control algorithms, and the deposit; which loads 200 liters of retardant agent, which can be used for both extinction operations and for creating chemical firewalls. It also installs a recovery mechanism that allows the separation of the control unit and a parachute releasing before the impact, permitting the recovery of this component with the consequent costs savings.
The system has been designed for use from cargo aircrafts with rear door for firefighting. The release mechanism requires no aircraft modifications, as it is compatible with standard cargo pallets 463L. Each pallet loads four bombs, depending to the size of the aircraft it can released between 20 and 40 projectiles, that is to say 4.000 and 8.000 liters of retardant per flight.
These bombs, which can be released from more than 3.500 meters high, are capable to hit at the focus of the flames with an accuracy of 10 meters, more than enough to scatter retardant over an area of 100 m2. This is possible thanks to its guidance technology based on algorithms that fuses advanced modes of GPS, and kinematics models with low-cost inertial sensors, air data, magnetometers and, even, artificial vision. Embention also proposes to convert these “smart” bombs in self-propelled missiles that can be launched remotely from a truck, thereby extending the range in areas with limited access or with high winds.