Airbus Defence and Space (formerly Cassidian) is performing ground tests on the Tanan Block 2 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft system (UAS), with first flight expected to take place in next couple of months, a company spokesperson told IHS Jane's in mid-February.
News of the impending first flight came as a quarter-scale mock-up of the rotary-winged UAS was being showcased at the Singapore Airshow, which ran from 11-16 February.
With the Block 1 Tanan having been based on the CybAero's APID 60 design, the Block 2 has been improved upon by Airbus DS. "[The] Block 2 is a big leap over the Block 1, wherein a large amount of changes in the aircraft structure and control systems has been incorporated. The complete design is now being undertaken in-house by the Airbus Group," Sascha Hapke, Head of Sales, Mission Air Systems at Airbus DS told IHS Jane's .
Visible differences from the Block 1 includes changes in the location of the electro-optic sensor, provision for a maritime radar under the nose, the Harpoon deck-recovery system, and an increased rotor column length to improve flight performance. The Block 2 version retains the same heavy fuel engine successfully flight tested in Block 1 version.
According to Airbus DS, the Tanan Block 2 has a maximum take-off weight of 350 kg (nearly double that of the Block 1), and is capable of carrying 80 kg of pure mission payload. It has a maximum endurance of 12 hours (reduced to 8 hours with a 50 kg payload), a top speed of 80 kt, a radius of operation of 100 n miles, and a service ceiling of 13,000 ft.
Company officials mentioned that though there have been no firm contracts to date, navies around the world are showing strong interest on the latest version of Tanan. The UAS can also be of interest to land forces or for civil monitoring and surveillance missions and it can be configured accordingly.