Making its DSEI debut, Hungarian UAV specialist Uaviator (Stand S6-370) is showing a range of its unmanned air vehicles, from the smaller Blacktip Reef to the 7m wingspan Hammerhead.
All are based on an all-wing configuration, to which can be added self-powered pods with electrically driven propellers to give a vertical takeoff and hover capability.
Creating a fixed-wing UAV with VTOL and hovering capabilities has opened up a host of opportunities. Uaviator has tested its air vehicles on a cable tether, with power for the electric motors being provided from a ground power source.
This was initially trialled as a means of extending range by allowing the vehicle to get aloft and up to a certain speed before disconnecting from the power supply, thereby starting its mission with a full fuel/charge.
Subsequently this launch technique has evolved into an operational concept, with the UAV being able to hover on a tether to provide a fixed-point surveillance capability.
The Hammerhead is currently the largest air vehicle in the Uaviator portfolio that has flown, but the company has a larger aircraft under study. The Hammerhead has an internal bay measuring 30 x 20 x 50cm, and in ‘clean’ form has a very low radar signature. As well as the VTOL lift pods, Hammerhead can also carry extra fuel or even weapons under the wings.
Uaviator continues to explore further concepts, one of which is drone capture. The company aims to use the unique flying characteristics of its VTOL aircraft as the basis for a vehicle that can capture small quadcopter-style drones. Under the concept the UAV would fire projectiles by a high-power electric or rocket motor, the projectile then ejecting a large net to capture and disable the target.
Based at Tököl airport near Budapest, Uaviator has access to a sizeable flight test area, and routinely tests its new concepts in hardware form.
The company began as a personal venture in 2003 and has grown significantly in capability through hardware-led trials. It has been flying the Hammerhead since 2014.