The Airbus subsidiary has been awarded a contract to deliver 22 UAS aircraft to the French Navy.
Airbus’ mini UAS subsidiary SURVEY Copter has secured a contract to supply the French Navy with 11 systems (22 aircraft) of the electrically powered fixed-wing Aliaca maritime version UAS (known as SMDM).
The contract also involves the provision of training and integrated logistic support.
The first tranche of SMDMs is scheduled to be delivered later this year.
“We are honoured to contribute to the missions of the French Navy which we will support with the highest standards of quality and reliability,” Nicolas Askamp, head of SURVEY Copter/Airbus Unmanned Aerial Systems, said.
“This new contract strengthens SURVEY Copter’s position as a global key player for maritime mini UAS.”
The Aliaca maritime UAS is a high endurance versatile system, designed to support missions for up to three hours over a 50-kilometre range.
The system is adapted to maritime missions with high gyro stabilised EO/IR payload performances and qualified to operate in severe environmental conditions.
The Aliaca maritime UAS, which is launched by catapult, concludes its flight by landing automatically using a dedicated net landing solution.
The UAS has a length of 2.2 metres, a wingspan of 3.6 metres, and a maximum take-off weight of 16 kilograms.
According to Survey Copter, the SMDM, which is powered by a silent electric motor, can be deployed in less than 15 minutes by two operators only.
The ground control station is also designed to enable the operator to constantly monitor the automatic flight of the UAS while receiving in real-time day and night images and AIS (Automatic Identification System) data gathered by its on-board sensors.
The system can be used for a range of missions, including supporting tactical operations, countering illegal operations at sea, search-and-rescue, traffic monitoring, pollution detection, tracking of any suspicious behaviour in the ship environment, and coastal surveillance.