Defense

Airbus to provide Aliaca fixed-wing drone to French Navy

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Airbus Defence and Space mini UAS subsidiary SURVEY Copter signed a contract with the French DGA Armament general directorate to provide the French Navy with 11 systems (22 aircraft) of the electrically powered fixed-wing Aliaca maritime version UAS, including training and integrated logistic support, Airbus announced with a press release. First deliveries are expected in 2021.

“We are honored to contribute to the missions of the French Navy, which we will support with the highest standards of quality and reliability. This new contract strengthens SURVEY Copter’s position as a global key player for maritime mini UAS”, said Nicolas Askamp, Head of Survey Copter / Airbus Unmanned Aerial Systems.

The Aliaca maritime UAS is a high endurance versatile system allowing up to 3 hours missions over a 50 km (27 Nm) range, perfectly adapted to maritime missions with high gyro-stabilized EO/IR payload performances and qualified to operate in severe environmental conditions. Launched by catapult, the Aliaca maritime UAS concludes its flight by landing automatically using a dedicated net landing solution. With a length of 2,2m and a wingspan of 3,6m for a maximum take-off weight of 16 kg, the Aliaca maritime UAS benefits from a powerful yet silent electric motor. The system can be deployed easily and rapidly in less than 15 minutes by two operators only.

Similarly, the “user-friendly” ground control station enables the operator to continually monitor the automatic flight of the UAS while receiving real-time day and night images and AIS (Automatic Identification System) data gathered by its onboard sensors.

It is designed to conduct several types of missions around the ships, including increasing clearness of the tactical situation, control of illegal operations at sea, search-and-rescue, traffic monitoring, pollution detection, tracking of any suspicious behavior in the ship environment, and coastal surveillance.

This lightweight onboard aerial solution allows vessels, traditionally not equipped with aerial assets, to enhance their tactical ISR capabilities, support decision-making and reactivity in operations.

The Aliaca maritime UAS can easily be integrated onboard any ships, with or without a helicopter landing-deck. Its small logistic footprint enables operations and storage onboard smaller-sized ships. Its integration does not require heavy onboard modification nor storage of specific fuel.

The result of 10 years of R&D investments and onboard experimentations, SURVEY Copter’s “off the shelf” Aliaca maritime UAS is a robust and resistant system to the corrosive maritime environment, an adapted solution to the electro-magnetic constraints on board, and benefits from an efficient net recovery system, fully automated, meaning that no human action is required during the recovery phase.

An Infographic About The Aliaca Survey Copter (Credit: Airbus)

About Airbus Survey Copter

Expert in mini-UAV since 1996, Survey Copter became an Airbus subsidiary in 2011. Survey Copter is offering a wide range of products ideally adapted to perform ISR, protection, or monitoring missions for military and civil applications. It provides global competencies in systems development, including aerial platform, ground control station, autopilot, data link, encryption, EO/IR payload (GX-5), RVT (Remote Video Terminal), as well as a provision of comprehensive services including spare parts, training, and in-service support.

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