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Euronaval 2022: Survey Copter takes the wraps off Aliaca ER UAS

Aliaca ER features twice the range and endurance of the current Aliaca Evo air vehicle. (Survey Copter )

French unmanned aircraft system (UAS) house Survey Copter has unveiled an extended-range (ER) variant of its Aliaca mini-UAS offering double the range and endurance of the current Aliaca Evo air vehicle, the company announced ahead of the Euronaval 2022 exhibition in Paris.

Known as Aliaca ER, the new variant replaces the electric propulsion of its progenitor with a small thermal engine. Flight-testing and qualification activity has already been undertaken, according to the manufacturer.

Survey Copter, a subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space, developed the original Aliaca Evo UAS to meet requirements for an organic mini unmanned aerial vehicle able to contribute to maritime surveillance, pollution monitoring, and search-and-rescue tasks. The system was ordered by the Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) in late 2020 to meet the French Navy's Système de Mini Drones aériens embarqués pour la Marine (SMDM) requirement.

According to Survey Copter, the new Aliaca ER shares the same basic aerodynamic configuration as the original Evo variant but introduces a new thermal engine using AV-1 jet fuel. The result is to increase speed, push maximum range out to 100 km (compared with 50 km on the Aliaca Evo) and extend endurance to six hours (as opposed to three hours).

A more powerful datalink is introduced to enable communications at extended range. In addition, the Aliaca ER air vehicle features a larger antenna.

In common with its forebear, the Aliaca ER is baselined with an Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver and the proprietary GX5 stabilised electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) payload specified for the SMDM programme. However, alternative payloads can be integrated according to customer requirements, Survey Copter told Janes .

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