Aeronautics adds VTOL capability to Orbiter 4

by Huw Williams

Concept image of Aeronautics Orbiter 4 UAS fitted with the new VTOL kit, which the company says is designed to provide flexibility to operators. (Aeronautics)

Aeronautics has developed an applique vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) kit for its Orbiter 4 unmanned aircraft system (UAS), the company has announced.

The VTOL kit takes the form of two nacelles, one positioned on each wing, and which feature two rotor blades. Matan Perry, Aeronautics Group's chief marketing officer and vice-president of sales, told Janes that the rotor blades have electric motors and are powered by a battery pack, rather than drawing from the onboard system.

In order to accommodate the VTOL kit, the Orbiter 4's airframe needs to undergo modification, after which users can fit or remove the kit in the field, Perry said. The rotor blades are only engaged during take-off and landing.

In its standard configuration, the aircraft is launched from a rail unit and recovered via a parachute system and an airbag. The VTOL capability has been introduced to provide flexibility to operators, Perry added.

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UK launches Defence Drone Strategy

by Olivia Savage

The Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge, unveiling the UK's Defence Drone Strategy at Malloy Aeronautics factory in Maidenhead in February 2024. (Crown Copyright)

The UK unveiled its Defence Drone Strategy on 22 February to accelerate the adoption and development of unmanned systems across air, sea, and land for the armed forces.

Backed by GBP4.5 billion (USD5.6 billion) worth of investment over the next decade, the strategy aims to enable rapid experimentation and development of unmanned systems, unify the front-line commands approach, and promote collaboration with industry, Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge, told Janes and other media representatives at the strategy launch event in Maidenhead.

As part of this investment, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) will seek to harness unmanned systems in areas pertaining to naval mine warfare clearance, one-way attack, heavy lift, and intelligence and surveillance, the strategy detailed. When pressed about which area is considered a top priority, especially regarding unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Cartlidge told Janes they “don't have a specific list yet”.

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Singapore Airshow 2024: Indonesia signs for three more CN235-220 transport aircraft

by Ridzwan Rahmat

A Nepalese Army CN235-220, seen here while it was about to depart Bandung for Nepal in 2019. The Indonesian Army is scheduled to receive three examples of the CN235-220 in a similar configuration. (PT Dirgantara Indonesia)

State-owned aerospace company PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) has received a contract for three more CN235-220 aircraft from the country's Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The USD85 million contract was inked on 30 November 2023 and the aircraft will be delivered to the Indonesian Army's Aviation Centre in the troop transport configuration, said a representative from PTDI who spoke to Janes at Singapore Airshow 2024.

In the configuration ordered, the aircraft will be able to accommodate 49 fully equipped soldiers or up to 34 paratroopers for airborne insertion operations.

When not needed for paratrooper operations, the lateral seats in the aircraft's cabin can be raised to accommodate cargo transportation requirements or be quickly refitted for up to 18 stretchers for medical evacuation and disaster relief missions, said PTDI.

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Royal Marines, Japan acquires T-150 UAVs from Malloy Aeronautics

by Olivia Savage

Malloy Aeronautics T-150, flown during a live demonstration at the company's factory in Maidenhead in February 2024, is being acquired by the Royal Marines and Japan for experimentation and trials. (Crown Copyright)

The T-150 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufactured by UK-based company Malloy Aeronautics has been acquired by the Royal Marines and Japan, UK's Minister for Defence Procurement James Cartlidge announced to Janes and other media representatives on 22 February.

Speaking at the Defence Drone Strategy launch at Malloy Aeronautics factory, Cartlidge said that 22 T-150 quadcopters have been acquired by the Royal Marines and two by Japan for experimentation.

Cartlidge told Janes that the Royal Marines acquired the platforms under a direct acquisition.

Malloy Aeronautics' UAVs have participated in a number of competitions and trials, including UK initiatives ‘Uncrewed Air Systems Heavy Lift Capability' and ‘Multi-Domain Integrated Swarm' as well as the multinational annual Exercise ‘REPMUS' (Robotic Experimentation and Prototyping using Maritime Unmanned Systems). During ‘REPMUS', the company integrated an inert Sting Ray training variant torpedo on the T-600 heavy lift UAV.

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Aeronautics has developed an applique vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) kit for its Orbiter 4 unm...

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