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DSEi 2011: Skeldar fuels up for sea tests

15th September 2011 - 17:20 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Saab is to start testing a heavy-fuel engine for the maritime variant of its Skeldar V-200 rotary UAV this week as part of the next stage of development for the system.

The system is being produced parallel to the land version, and the maritime variant is expected to be operational 'mid next year', Hans Berglund, director of marketing for UAV Systems at Saab, told Shephard  at the DSEi exhibition in London on 15 September.

The engine that is being tested will have a 58hp engine, and the testing will take place in Sweden, although Saab is also planning on carrying out similar testing in Spain later this year to experiment with different weather conditions for 'more efficient testing'.

The Skeldar platform is 'very flexible for payloads', is based on a 'plug and play' architecture, and uses off the shelf products, including SAR and EO/IR payloads. The company is also looking into new types of radar to add to the platform.

The land variant  is yet to be purchased, but it is expected to have a customer by the first half of next year.

Berglund said that Saab is in discussions with European customers for participation on several programmes, including the Future Tactical Unmanned Air System (FUAS), for which the company 'may suggest to scale up Skeldar'.

The system currently weighs 200kg, but Berglund said that Saab is looking at options for increasing it to up to 600kg.

He also said that he sees Europe as an important player in the UAV market, and that the maritime variant was introduced as a response to Saab seeing 'most of the custom there'.

Berglund also confirmed that Saab is 'not interested' in entering a bid for the Anglo-French MALE UAV RFI expected to be released next year.

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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