US-based company successfully tests anti-poaching UAV in Tanzania

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US-based Martin UAV LLC and Aviation Unmanned LLC says it has concluded successful test-flights of its Super Bat fixed-wing, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in Tanzania during a five-day period in which it was used to support ground-based anti-poaching operations.

In a statement, Martin UAV said a ‘rigorous trial’ designed to determine if the system could meet Bathawk’s special anti-poaching needs was conducted mid-September in a Tanzanian game reserve in conjunction with Tanzanian-based UAV surveillance systems company Bathawk Recon and the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA).
“The combined tactical team, made up of Martin UAV, Aviation Unmanned, Bathawk Recon and TANAPA, put the Super Bat through its paces over five days testing its systems, the effectiveness of the sensors, range, endurance and operating in support of park rangers.
“The Super Bat, even while operating at the maximum altitude, agreed with civil aviation, could detect people, follow them through the bush, zoom in on game and do it all in both in video and infrared. Along with a highly effective sensor pay-load, the aircraft’s range and endurance were confirmed at an impressive 30 kilometres distance and eight hours in the air,” the company said.

According to specifications from Martin UAV systems, the Super Bat is a small autonomous UAV system which can be used for short-range surveillance and monitoring, aerial mapping, small unit surveillance, urban monitoring, force protection, agricultural information and wildlife protection.

It delivers high quality video imagery from a 2.4 Giga-Hertz data link video down-link using a 900 Mega-hertz spread which relies on a spectrum 2-way modem with options for long-range data links with a telemetry range which cover a 6-10 mile radius.

Its triple sensor system includes a Cloud Cap TASE 150/200 Gimbal, a Sony RX-100 20 megapixel camera and a Tetra-cam mini-MCA Multi-Spectral Camera. Additionally, the system can be fitted with sophisticated imagery hardware which includes a long-range telemetry link of up to 50 nautical miles (line of sight), an Iridium satellite data-link, emergency parachute recovery system, on-board generator and a heavy fuel engine.

The UAV can be transported on a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) and launched from a bungee catapult system. It has a full operational duration of 10 hours and a telemetry range of up to 10 miles. Powered by a 26cc 2-stroke engine with 2 horsepower, the UAV uses Mogas 90 Octane fuel or higher with a 40:1 oil mix ratio. It is 1.6 m long and has a wing-span of 2.6 metres.

The UAV weighs 16.7 kg, carries a maximum payload of 2.2 kilogrammes and has an operational ceiling of 10,000 feet traveling at a maximum speed range of between 35 and 65 knots. The company hopes to market its products in Africa where the poaching of elephants, rhinos and other game has reached epidemic proportions, leaving parks protection systems struggling to cope.

The company sees a big potential market for its wildlife protection UAV products in Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa and other central and West Africans nations struggling to contain poaching.