Tekever is proceeding with a demonstration of a maritime surveillance system using UAVs for the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA). The Portuguese technology company was selected for the two-year Rapsody project by the two agencies last December. In what it claims to be a first, Tekever will demonstrate the value of using UAVs in search-and-rescue missions, and in monitoring pollution and oil spills from ships.
Tekever is using its AR5 Evolution for the demo, one of a family of small-to-medium UAVs that it has developed. The AR5 is a conventional takeoff and landing autonomous UAV with a wingspan of 4.3 meters, a payload of 50 kg, and an endurance of 8 to 12 hours. It will carry various sensors, including HD video, SAR, Lidar and AIS, the maritime equivalent of IFF. Satcom will be provided by ViaSat. The sensors will be integrated by Tekever’s subsidiary in the UK, and the demonstration will be managed by another UK company, Bond Air Services.
Tekever also has subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Brazil, where it bought into Santos Labs, a local maker of UAVs. The two companies have since jointly developed the AR2 Carcara, a small UAV for maritime and amphibious operations that has a waterproof airframe. Tekever’s hand-launched UAV is designated the AR4 LightRay, and has been in service with the Portuguese Army for the past three years.