IMDEX 2011: STE extends UAV family
Singapore Technologies Engineering (STE) has unveiled the latest product in its family of unmanned systems with designs for a fuel cell powered Mini-UAV.
Speaking to Shephard at the International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX) in Singapore, STE officials said they had begun development of the UAV earlier in the year. The pair is also developing the Skyblade III and IV UAVs as well as a VTOL solution called Fan Tail.
Designed in collaboration with DSO National Laboratories, the fuel cell powered mini-UAV system relies on Singapore company Aerokpak's technology which provides a 600 per cent increase in endurance when compared to STE's Skyblade III airframe.
According to STE, a technology demonstrator for the alternatively powered mini-UAV is expected to be completed by the end of the year and will be followed swiftly by a demonstration proving an endurance of over six hours.
The manpacked Skyblade III, which has been delivered in 'triple figures' to the Singapore Army since 2009, boasts a maximum endurance of around 60 minutes, company officials added.
As with Skyblade III, the Mini-UAV is bungee launched and comprises an electric engine. Weighing approximately 7kg, it has a 3m wingspan and total length of 1.8m. It will also be recovered using 'deep stall manoeuvre' technology with an airbag landing.
Meanwhile, STE said it was still conducting flight tests for its Skyblade IV UAV which it hopes to have completed by the end of the year. Officials said they hoped to hand a prototype over to the Singapore armed forces for evaluation thereafter.
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