Fresh from beating the Thales Watchkeeper with the Sagem Patroller in the competition to supply the French Army with a new tactical UAV, Ecarys GmbH (Hall 1, Stand C107), a department of Germany’s Stemme aircraft manufacturer, is promoting here the ES15 high-performance composites aircraft on which the Patroller is based.
Ecarys offers a platform with a 350kg (770lb) payload, a 1,350nm (2,500km) range, up to 20 hours of endurance, very low levels of fuel consumption, noise and emissions and low maintenance requirements.
Additionally, it has a low radar signature and minimal IR signature. The ES15 is able to soar for long distance while the engine is turned off, allowing silent operations at a very low speed – ideal for border control, marine survey and wildlife protection. It features side-by-side seating, allowing two occupants in the cabin or only a pilot to operate a multitude of equipment in the second seat. It can be towed by hand, transported on a lightweight trailer and in a container when the wings are detached. Outer wing modules (6m/19.7ft each) can be manually folded for ease of parking and storage.
The aircraft is based on a certified civil design and is said to be extremely cost-efficient, with an average operating cost of only $300 per hour. It is targeted at the surveillance, reconnaissance, research and tactical UAV markets, for which roles it can be fitted with electro-optical gimbal systems, infrared or other sensors in underwing pods and/ or on the fuselage, airborne laser scanning for long-range transmission of high-resolution images and/or acoustic data, synthetic aperture radar technology for accurate atmospheric research and magnetic measurements, and more. Some 300 aircraft have already been manufactured.