New Spanish UAV Claims Civil Competence

 - March 7, 2013, 6:00 PM
The Atlante UAV made its first flight on February 28. It is claimed to be the first tactical drone capable of both civil and military missions. (Photo: EADS Cassidian)

An all-Spanish drone has made its first flight and is claimed to be “the first tactical UAS capable of carrying out civil and military missions.” The Atlante UAS development is led by EADS Cassidian Spain and involves more than 140 subcontractors. The venture capital partners are Indra, GMV and Aries.

The Atlante has been designed to the same certification standards as manned aircraft and features the latest-generation automation, sensors and protection systems, according to Cassidian. This will allow it to operate in civil airspace, performing such missions as urban and rural surveillance, search-and-rescue, fighting forest fires and aiding in other natural disasters. It can be operated from a runway or launched from a catapult.

Ironically, while the Spanish part of Cassidian has worked on the Atlante, the much bigger German part of EADS Cassidian has also been trying to launch development of a UAS–called the Talarion–that would be designed for civil as well as military certification. But the Talarion project has foundered for lack of funding from the German government or elsewhere. It is also worth noting that while EADS Cassidian in Germany is not part of the pan-European Neuron UCAS project, its Spanish company is, thanks to Spanish government funding. EADS Cassidian Spain is responsible for the wings, ground station and datalink integration.