Airbus Defence and Space is showing the flying prototype of the Tanan Block 2 rotary-wing UAV for the first time as the vehicle nears the completion of flight trials.
Unique in being the only rotary-wing UAV designed from the outset for heavy fuel (diesel), Tanan is powered by an engine developed by Airbus DS (Cassidian) and the Airbus Innovation Works. It offers dual-sensor ISR capabilities, and is shown here with radar and electro-optical sensors. The Block 1 version was a modified version of the Swedish CybAero APID 60, used primarily to define requirements for the definitive Block 2 design.
Tanan forms part of a teaming proposal that Airbus has forged with Textron to offer complementary UAVs to a number of countries, including France. The rotary-wing UAV is mainly intended for naval use, while Textron provides the proven, fixed-wing Shadow for land employment. In its Shadow M2 version, the Textron platform has the same systems as the Tanan, streamlining joint employment of the types.
France has a requirement for a naval rotary-wing UAS, for which Tanan is being pitched. Shipboard trials aboard the service’s next-generation frigate could be undertaken next year.
Meanwhile, the French army is expected to issue an open tender for a major land-based UAV programme in the coming weeks. The Shadow M2 will bid for this requirement, in competition with platforms such as the Thales Watchkeeper. For both Tanan and Shadow, Airbus is proposing the same Lygarion data transfer system that is already in operational use with the French Harfang system, which uses the IAI Heron vehicle.
Interest in Tanan has been received from other forces, including the Royal Navy and the US Navy. Under the teaming arrangement, Tanan could be offered by Textron with systems that complement those of the Shadows in US service.