IDE UAS: A new innovative Tactical (UAS) emerges from Greece

A national programme has evolved into a competitive commercial prospect

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Tags: UAS


A new, innovative, tactical unmanned aerial system (UAS), which can be used for security and military missions, was unveiled recently by the Greek defence company INTRACOM Defense Electronics (IDE).

The development of IDE Tactical UAS started in 2013 as a national research programme with a consortium of six partners: three University Research Groups (Laboratory of Fluid Mechanics & Turbomachinery of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Control Systems Laboratory of National Technical University of Athens, Laboratory of Robotics and Automation of Democritus University of Thrace) and two SMEs (MLS Multimedia, Spacesonic Ltd) and one industry (IDE). It was initially coordinated by the Laboratory of Fluid Mechanics & Turbomachinery of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki but after the successful conclusion of the research programme, IDE took over the lead in order to develop a fully commercialised system.

The vehicle is a fixed wing propeller aircraft with wingtips and an inverse-V tail. Its length is 4.5m, its wingspan 6.5m, and the maximum take-off mass is 185kg, 35kg of which are its payload capacity. It is manufactured from composite materials (95 per cent) and aluminium (5 per cent). It is powered by a two-stroke air-cooled piston engine, installed in the aft fuselage (pusher). Cruising speed is 160 km/h, loitering speed 140 km/h and maximum speed is 200 km/h.

The operational altitude of the UAV is 9,800 feet and it has a ceiling of 14,770 feet. Endurance is almost 12 hours and its operational range can reach 200Km with its Line-of-Sight (LOS) data-link, which can be extended over 400km via satellite link.

The UAV is equipped with a sophisticated triple-redundant autopilot, as well as an advanced electro-optical payload (EOP) 

IDE UAS exhibits superior characteristics, such as an almost double endurance compared to most of its competition, thanks to its highly optimized aerodynamics and fuel consumption. It is comparable with other systems that are much larger, heavier (300-350kg) and more expensive.

The LOS data-link of IDE UAS is based on the Software Defined Tactical Broadband IP Radio System, Spart@n, and its derivatives, developed and manufactured by IDE. The system operates in UHF/L bands and has been designed to fulfil requirements for real-time, reliable, resilient to interference and jamming, secure and high-speed data exchange.

Thanks to its highly sophisticated data-link system, the system can operate in a network-centric communications infrastructure and be integrated with other sensors, command centres and military platforms (boats, troops on the ground, armoured/mechanized/artillery units).

The UAV is equipped with a sophisticated triple-redundant autopilot, a system for conversion, processing and storage of video, a double data-link, a transponder, a parachute, as well as an advanced electro-optical payload (EOP) consisting of a day camera, 3rd generation cooled thermal sensor and laser range finder.

The Ground Control Station (GCS) is installed in a van for mobility. It includes suitable antennas to enable uninterruptible LOS link with the UAV on large distances, ergonomic internal arrangement for two operators and electronic equipment.

It includes a Command & Control (C2) platform, consisting of a 3D map environment, incident management, remote control and display of real-time video coming from the electro-optical payload of the UAV, video processing, target detection, identification and tracking software as well as a module for dissemination of the operational picture to external C2 systems.

It also includes UAV remote control software, which displays flight instruments together with telemetry data received by the UAV, it monitors and controls its on-board systems, it performs flight planning and dispatches information to the C2 platform.

Finally, it includes software for monitoring and controlling of the whole network and communications infrastructure of the system.

The Ground Control Station is able to manage multiple aerial vehicles at the same time (Point-to-Multipoint topology), it can function as a relay of communications, and it can hand-over the control of the aerial vehicles to other GCSs.