Thales has launched a new UAV system at the Farnborough Airshow. Known as Fulmar X, the UAV offers an endurance of greater than eight hours and an operating range of over 500 miles (800 km), yet the air vehicle has a wing span of just 10 feet (three meters). Developed by Thales in Spain, the Fulmar has been selected by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, which is buying six systems to equip fast patrol craft.
Constructed entirely from composites, Fulmar X is launched from a bungee catapult and recovered into a net, allowing it to be used from confined spaces and at sea. It carries a combined electro-optical/infrared sensor, and can be configured with AIS (automatic identification system) for maritime missions, and a transponder. It can be operated as a stand-alone system, or be integrated into wider surveillance systems.
Thales is also displaying its Spy’Ranger mini-UAV, which was developed in conjunction with Aero Design. The air vehicle has an advanced sensor gimbal that allows it to maintain track on targets even when the vehicle is maneuvering hard. It also has an encrypted and robust datalink so that communications are maintained in an environment where certain anti-drone measures are being employed.