A Swiss-owned company that is developing a trio of remotely piloted air systems (RPAS) for civil and military applications made its inaugural appearance at the recent Unmanned Systems conference in Washington, D.C. Unmanned Systems Group, with headquarters in Baar, Switzerland, displayed its Discoverer and Discoverer II fixed-wing air vehicles and a scale model of the planned Atro-X unmanned helicopter featuring tip-jet rotor propulsion.
Last July, Unmanned Systems AG, the group’s investor- and management-owned parent company, acquired a majority share of Swiss UAV. This is the company that designed the S-350 small unmanned helicopter that has been adapted by Saab as the Skeldar, and the unusually configured TU-150 that was marketed by Rheinmetall Airborne Systems before its acquisition by EADS Cassidian. The combined group now has facilities in Baar and Niederdorf, Switzerland; Linköping, Sweden; and Bicester,UK.
A “production prototype” of the 551-pound (250 kg) mtow Discoverer II made its first flight on September 3 last year at Karlskoga airfield, Sweden, some five months after the company completed the design. The composite and metal air vehicle is configured as a pusher-prop with twin tail booms connected by a horizontal stabilizer. It has a 23-foot wingspan and winglets. With a payload capacity of up to 154 pounds (70 kg), the aircraft is designed to carry the Selex Seaspray 5000E maritime surveillance radar and an electro-optical/infrared turret for both blue-water and littoral surveillance. For surveillance over ground, it can be fitted with the Selex PicoSAR AESA radar. The group advertises endurance of more than 16 hours, based on the size of a fuel tank module and the payload.