Air Platforms

Czech team unveils CANTAS E

27 February 2017

The second member of the CANTAS (CANnard TAil Sitter) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) family has been unveiled at IDEX 2017 in Abu Dhabi.

The CANTAS E (Endurance) was unveiled at IDEX 2017. (Michal Zdobinsky)The CANTAS E (Endurance) was unveiled at IDEX 2017. (Michal Zdobinsky)

Designated CANTAS E (Endurance), the new system follows the launch of the CANTAS A (Advanced) at the Indo Defence 2016 exhibition in November 2016.

The aircraft were developed by the Czech Republic's Krill Design and New Space technologies. They feature a triangular wing form with the CANTAS A having a span of 3.3 m and measuring 2.4 m long; the CANTAS E has a larger wing span of 5 m and a higher aspect ratio wing.

The aircraft are designed to operate independently of infrastructure, being able to take-off and land vertically, and maintain hover.

Control in the hover is provided by combining the change of thrust of a pair of electric power units (EPU) installed in the wing nacelles, with independent vectoring of their respective propeller slipstreams by deflecting the aerodynamic control surfaces. In cruise flight the control over the roll comes via the outer ailerons.

The aircraft are made of composite materials, enabling them to be deployed and operated by two- or three-member teams.

The tail-sitting design enables the aircraft to take off and land without the need for a runway or other infrastructure. (Michal Zdobinsky)The tail-sitting design enables the aircraft to take off and land without the need for a runway or other infrastructure. (Michal Zdobinsky)

The CANTAS A is optimised for reconnaissance operations that might require high-speed flight. This is supported by the new TJ-40G-1 jet engine developed by PBS Velka Bites; the 4 kg unit develops a static thrust of 365 N. For take-off and landing a pair of 8 kW MVVS E100 electric motors - which are positioned in the wing's trailing edge - power two-bladed propellers in a pusher arrangement. The electric motors are powered by a battery with 1.37 kWh capacity.

The aircraft can reach a maximum speed of 380 km/h when operating with the jet engine, while the electric motors support low-noise horizontal flight. In each case the operating endurance is around 40 minutes, sufficient for operations within the reach of the ground control station.

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