UAV demonstrator Sagitta makes maiden flight
Airbus Defence and Space has for the first time flown its Sagitta UAS technology demonstrator, the company announced on 18 July.
Sagitta flew autonomously for around seven minutes over the test site in Overberg, South Africa, on a pre-programmed course. This marked the successful completion of the first test phase, which also included an extensive series of ground tests.
The Sagitta project was launched in 2010 as a joint 'Open Innovation' initiative between Airbus and institutes from the technical universities of Munich and Chemnitz, the University of the Federal armed forces in Munich, the Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences and the German Aerospace Centre.
The goal is to jointly develop advanced technologies for unmanned flight. With a maximum take-off weight of 150kg, the jet-propelled UAS has a flying-wing configuration, and is being designed with high levels of autonomy and low observability for variable mission profiles.
The airframe is produced completely from carbon fibre composite using a number of new manufacturing processes. With the exception of the brakes, it is an ‘electronic flying device’ that is controlled by electromechanical actuators instead of hydraulic components.
Grazia Vittadini, Engineering Head at Airbus Defence and Space, said: ‘With Sagitta’s first flight, we have proved just how successful a cooperation between industry and academic partners can be in the area of basic research.
‘We are increasingly shifting our focus towards these kinds of innovative concepts, in particular for the development of UAVs, so that we can develop products quickly and efficiently for a growing market.’
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