Silver Fox and Manta Flight Demonstrations
February 13-19, 2006
Upolo Point Airport, Hawi, Hawaii

Final Report (.doc)

The Silver Fox is a small and relatively simple Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) that was developed with Office of Naval Research (ONR) funding to function primarily as an "expendable over the horizon surveillance tool" that could be launched from ships and/or from land. It carries optical and infrared camera systems and sends real-time images to the command console. It is controlled via line of sight communication and has an effective operating range of 20 plus nautical miles.

The Manta UAS is a larger sibling to the Silver Fox.  Manta has a larger payload capacity.  Current instrumentation packages for Manta include a hyperspectral camera.

Silver Fox  
Silver Fox

Our primary interests in the evaluation of the Silver Fox UAS are: tracking small vessels and entangled whales; and identifying and documenting the activities and locations of individual vessels.   We will be operating in conjunction with a 36' charter fishing vessel and a USCG 110' Cutter. This project is being underwritten by Advanced Ceramics Research (ACR), the manufacturers of the Silver Fox and Manta UASs and the US Navy Special Clearance Team 1 (NSCT-1.)  They have graciously agreed to use their Silver Fox and Manta vehicles as well as their valuable training time to provides us this opportunity.  Also, the Hawaii District of the State of Hawaii's Department of Transportation has generously provided us the Upolu Point Airport at no cost.

More information about the Silver Fox and Manta is available at:

These activities are being conducted under the auspices of the NOAA UAS Program, which is composed of the NOAA UAS Steering Committee and Working Group. The NOAA UAS Steering Committee and Working Group as formal bodies to serve as NOAA's focal point for collaboration and information regarding the application of UAS technology in the accomplishment of NOAA mission. The Mission of the Steering Committee and Working Group is to make recommendations to NOAA's Line Offices (LO), Goal Teams, and Programs on the application of UAS technology to fulfill critical research and operational gaps.  CAPT. Craig McLean serves as the NOAA UAS Steering Committee representative for NOS. Todd Jacobs is the NOS Working Group Representative.  More information about the  NOAA UAS Steering Committee and Working Group is available at:

Silver Fox Specifications
Manta B Specifications