Designed by Thales, the UAS100 has just completed its first flight. It will be able to operate in a radius greater than 100 km thanks to its hybrid propulsion system.
Except forwhich are in reality true unmanned airplanes, autonomy remains the major problem of civilians. Research labs and companies are trying to extend the flight with hybrid engines. This is for example the case with the of Quatenium, a four-rotor drone that was able to stay in the 10 hours and 14 minutes. An autonomy whose interest remains questionable since the was satisfied with one . At the French Thales, on the other hand, it is in search of a significant radius of action that the scientists have worked.
Lately, they have managed, and successfully, to fly their prototype. Thales says it will be able to fly a distance of over 100 km. Ultimately, will have a wingspan of 5.40 meters, but for the moment, the tested prototype is at 1/2 scale. Its long wings have at the ends, a triple tail with at the rear three vertical planes, including two fins. The engine is placed at the front in height. We thus find at the top of the masts two electric motors on the two exterior and on the main one .
Civilian or military applications
In addition to autonomy, the other issue of, it is the loss of signal and the . A concern that Thales claims to have solved with a navigation system that can allow it to operate in environments with strong disturbances, or even . Made of , the drone was produced in partnership with , a French aircraft manufacturer pioneer in planes in 100% carbon structure (Lionceau, , Simba). The start-up Hionos produced the autonomous navigation software for the aircraft. The of the Ministry of the Armed Forces is also present, since the project is financially supported by the Defense Innovation Agency (AID).
The UAS100 could effectively carry out both civil and military missions, with surveillance operations, search for victims, border or coastal security, or even defense. In the meantime, the flight of the scale 1 version is already announced for the second half of 2022 with certification scheduled for the end of 2023. A certification that will allow the drone to operate in a populated area and by inserting itself into traffic Aerial.