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Air Platforms

Paris Air Show 2017: LASA Engineering unveils its T-Bird armed surveillance aircraft

23 June 2017

Bulgarian company Light Armed Surveillance Aircraft (LASA) Engineering Ltd showcased its T-Bird intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) counter-insurgency (COIN) aircraft for the first time at the Paris Air Show.

The LASA T-Bird light attack turboprop being displayed for the first time at the Paris Air Show. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)The LASA T-Bird light attack turboprop being displayed for the first time at the Paris Air Show. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)

Based on the Thrush 510G agricultural aircraft airframe, the T-Bird is fitted with an ISR sensor suite developed and integrated by Airborne Technologies of Austria.

It centres on Airborne Technologies' Self Contained Aerial Reconnaissance (SCAR) Pod, which incorporates electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) stabilised payloads as well as a full datalink system. The sensor suite is integrated by Airborne Technologies' Airborne Lynx Command and Control System, which allows for real-time exchange of intelligence and co-ordination between the aircraft and ground forces.

The aircraft is a twin-seater with the pilot sitting in the front and a sensor operator sitting in the rear. The operator's workstation comprises the Mission Management Unit along with a pair of high-definition multifunction displays.

The T-Bird is fitted with six underwing hardpoints which can accommodate a range of NATO or Eastern European weapons. The aircraft presented at the Paris Air Show was fitted with 3D printed replicas of 57 mm rocket launchers and twin 23 mm cannon pods. A public address system is also included on the aircraft.

The LASA executive also highlighted the aircraft's survivability. "The airframe is fully bullet-proof," he said, adding that the fuel tanks are all self-sealing and contain a specific meshing designed to preclude explosion in case of a bullet impact. The T-Bird is able to withstand 7.62 x 39 mm impacts fired from a range of 200 m, according to a LASA brochure.

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