You can make a good case that the Israelis are the most innovative nation around these days. Hard to be sure. Innovation knows no borders. Certainly, they seem to be when it comes to the military sector—especially when you consider their limited resources. But much of what they develop has civilian application too—and such is the case where the AIRMULE from Israel’s TACTICAL ROBOTS LTD is concerned. Simply put, it is an unmanned rotary aircraft designed to carry stuff. It’s an aerial pickup-and about the same size (though lighter).
Rotary? Surely those ducted fans at its tail aren’t sufficient for it to take off and land vertically?
No, they are not. The heavy lifting (no pun intended) is actually done by shrouded blades inside the aircraft. This makes them highly efficient, quiet, and the AirMule itself capable of landing in confined spaces (430.5 square feet—which is no bigger than many domestic living-rooms.
The AirMule is made by Israel's Tactical Robotics Ltd., and can be flown either by remote control or using its own autonomous control system – there's no onboard human pilot. Among other things, it's intended for the evacuation of wounded personnel in war zones while under anti-aircraft fire.
In its current form, it weighs 770 kg (1,700 lb), can carry a payload of up to 640 kg (1,400 lb), has a potential top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph), and can reach a maximum altitude of 12,000 ft (3,658 m).
So where does the cargo go?
Your guess is as good as mine. But note the payload it can carry. 1,400lbs is a useful quantity for such a small aircraft.