Although German UAV specialists Rheinmetall Airborne Systems (RAS) is now 51-percent owned by EADS, the Bremen-based outfit is retaining its own identity and continues to build upon expertise gained in operating two UAV systems for the German armed forces. It has developed a lightweight, low-cost tactical UAV and is proposing an innovative larger design that is hybrid in both airframe and power.
Rheinmetall Airborne Systems revealed a new fixed-wing/VTOL hybrid UAV at the ILA Berlin airshow. Displayed in full-scale model form, the Tactical Utility TU-150 is a joint development with Swiss UAV, the company that produced the VTOL UAV now marketed by Saab as the Skeldar.
EADS has replaced Stefan Zoller as head of Cassidian, the group’s defense business. Cassidian has not enjoyed the same level of success as other EADS divisions, and is facing a difficult home market in Europe. An official statement says Zoller is leaving “to pursue new professional challenges.”
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology is arguably the fastest growing aspect of present-day aviation. Unmanned combat aerial vehicles are revolutionizing the conduct of military operations, and some law enforcement, border security and other civil activities are being undertaken by UAVs as well. Very small hand-launched models are aiding soldiers, while police and firemen will soon be able to search inside buildings where danger lurks.
The Diamond DA42 MPP (multi-purpose platform) fitted with an UOMZ sensor pod attracted considerable interest when it was displayed at the Paris Air Show. Present studies could lead to the aircraft being offered as an optionally piloted or unmanned aerial vehicle, a development that could be available in about three year’s time.