Department - Author 1

Mechanical Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Mechanical Engineering



Primary Advisor

Sarah Harding


This report discusses the design, construction, and testing of a lightweight, portable UAV launcher. There is a current need for a small team of soldiers to launch a US Marine Tier II UAV in a remote location without transport. Research was conducted into existing UAV launcher designs and the pros and cons of each were recorded. This research served as a basis for concept generation during the initial design development stage. It was required that the design weigh less than 110 lbs, occupy a smaller volume than 48" x 24" 18" in its collapsed state, be portable by a single soldier, able to be operated by two soldiers, and launch a 55 lb UAV at 52.3 ft/s. In this report is the detailed analysis and design of the first prototype of such a launcher. The launcher operates using a set of six elastic surgical tubing members and an electric winch and features a collapsible frame made of lightweight aluminum 6061-­T6. The launcher succeeded in reaching an exit velocity of 53.7 ft/s, set-­up and tear-­down times under five minutes, weight of 62 lbs, a collapsed volume measuring 43" x 14.5" x 14" and the need for only a single operator.