New Saudi military UAV operates with TCAS in civil airspace

by Michael Willoughby

Saudi Arabian company, Intra Defense, has unveiled a new vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aerial vehicle at the Dubai Air Show, according to National Defense Magazine web site.

“There’s a huge gap for this in the market, but none of them in the world have the systems onboard that this aircraft has,” Anthony Gudgeon, airborne systems director of Intra Defense Technologies told the publication in an interview. “It’s 100 percent locally indigenously developed.” Intra Defense specializes in developing UAVs.

The system has been in development for nearly two years and is now in production, he said. First flight occurred over the summer and is used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance purposes. The company also has a naval variant that can land on ships, which can be useful for fishery patrols, he added.

“You can fold it up, put it into a box on the back of a military vehicle, drive it anywhere and fly it without having to have a runway,” he said.

The system unveiled at the show weighs 96 kilograms and can run for 12 hours, he said.

To successfully navigate in civilian airspaces, the platform has a traffic collision avoidance system, he noted.

“That’s part of what makes it very special,” he said. “We can fly the aircraft in civilian airspace without having to worry about air traffic control and regulations and that type of thing. It makes it much more versatile.”

The system is already under contract for civilian use and there is interest from potential military customers as well, he noted.

Additionally, a user can plug in multiple waypoints, according to ND.

At this stage, the system will not be able to employ weapons payloads, he noted in the interview.

“You’d probably have to take it up to about 110, 115 kilograms to do that,” he said. “To move up even by 15 kilograms is a major redesign.”

For more information

https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2019/12/26/saudi-company-introduces-vertical-takeoff-and-landing-uav