The Spanish Air Force’s Virgen del Camino airbase on Tuesday hosted the first day of flight exhibitions at the European summit on RPAS for security and defense, UNVEX S&D, which is taking place this week in the northwestern Spanish city of León. During the demonstrations, up to seven remotely-piloted systems from various companies flew over the facilities while showing attendees their capabilities for obtaining images.
The systems that took part included Elistair’s Orion, Alpha Unmanned Systems’ Alpha 800, Flir UAS’ Black Hornet; Indra Sistemas’ Mantis, Aeroenvironment’s Snipe Nano and PUMA AE, as well as SCR’s Tucan. In addition, Dedrone’s anti-drone system, RF 100/RF 300, was also showcased.
It is worth noting that Tuesday’s demonstrations constituted one of the largest drone air shows for the general public performed in Spain to date, due to both the number of systems used and their unparalleled diversity.
Orion is an electrically-powered rotary-wing system weighing 10.5 kilograms (23 pounds). It is a tethered drone connected through a cable to a feed-and-control system. The Alpha 800 is another rotary-wing aircraft that weighs 14 kilograms (31 pounds) and has a cruise speed of 45 kilometers per hour (28 miles per hour). For the demonstration, it was equipped with an Epsilon 140 sensor so as to display its streaming capabilities.
The Black Hornet is one of the smallest systems available on the market, weighing only 18 grams (0.63 ounces). This RPAS is already being deployed alongside the special forces of the Spanish military’s three branches. It can reach a cruise speed of 5 meters per second (16.4 feet per second) and a takeoff speed of between 1-2 meters per second (3.3-6.6 feet per second).
Indra and SCR systems
The multinational corporation Indra showed off the abilities of its fixed-wing and electrically powered Mantis system, equipped with a visible payload. This drone weighs 6.3 kilograms (14 pounds) and has a wingspan of 2.1 meters (6.9 feet). Meanwhile, SCR unveiled its Tucan fixed-wing system with a dual Night Hawk 2 camera that has been tested in up to eight campaigns within the Rapaz (“Predator”) program developed by Spain’s Armament and Material Office (DGAM). This aircraft has a span of 2.7 meters (8.9 feet), weighs 5 kilograms (11 pounds) and is capable of flying at a cruise speed of 65 kilometers per hour (40.4 miles per hour).
CETA exhibited two models developed by Aeroenvironment: Snipe Nano and Puma AE. The former weighs 140 grams (5 ounces), reaches a cruise speed of 20 kilometers per hour (12.4 miles per hour) and was mounted with an infrared and electro-optical camera. The latter, a fixed-wing system, spans 2.8 meters (9.2 feet) and weighs 6.3 kilograms (13.9 pounds). This aircraft can incorporate a day-and-nighttime electro-optical sensor with laser illuminator.