Experimental aircraft manufacturer Sonex Aircraft is unveiling its newest business unit at the AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2017 convention in Dallas this week: Sonex Aerospace, a design, development and manufacturing firm focused on the unmanned aerial system (UAS) marketplace.
In a business collaboration agreement with Navmar Applied Sciences Corp. (NASC), Sonex Aerospace is developing the Teros Group 4 UAS, the Tigershark Block 4, and the SubSonex Twinjet UAS.
The Teros prototype is being displayed at XPONENTIAL 2017, while renderings of the Tigershark Block 4 and SubSonex TwinJet UAS are being displayed in the NASC exhibit booth.“Sonex Aircraft believes so strongly in the value and potential of its collaboration with NASC, that a new dedicated business unit has been created to serve the UAS market,” said Sonex Aerospace CEO Mark Schaible. “Sonex Aerospace focuses all the expertise of 40-plus years experience into one client, with one goal.”
With roots in the experimental aircraft industry, the Oshkosh-based company has been designing, building, selling and supporting manned aircraft since the early 1970s.
In January 2015, NASC began a collaboration with Sonex Aircraft, teaming up to create what would eventually become known as Teros, a UAS in the Group 4 classification, the largest fixed-wing UAS platform produced by NASC to date.
NASC first became interested in the Moni Motorglider, a 1980s design by Sonex founder John Monnett. Investigation of the Moni led the NASC team to the larger Xenos Motorglider design, and a synergy was born, according to Sonex officials.
With NASC’s expertise in Unmanned Aircraft Systems via more than 100,000 UAS flight hours supporting the United States Department of Defense, Navmar has the electronic command and control systems, payload experience, flight crew and support systems to combine with Sonex Aerospace’s design strengths to develop and implement the next generation of UAS platforms and systems, Sonex officials noted.
“All of the new UAS platforms being developed by Sonex Aerospace are derived from real aircraft, all of which have thousands of hours of real flight time to their credit, all with valuable human payloads having originated as manned systems, all engineered and operated to aerobatic load limits and offering outstanding performance and economy,” said Schaible. “Unlike so many new designs in this industry, what you see here are not concepts. They are real aircraft.”
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2017 is the largest trade show for the unmanned systems and robotics industry. More than 7,000 people from more than 55 countries are expected to attend XPONENTIAL from May 8 to 11.