UAS houses returning to catapult launches: Robonic

Finnish unmanned air system launching specialist Robonic says the continued evolution of advanced tactical unmanned air systems (UAS) is showing a marked trend towards development of zero point launch.

In a media statement to announce success in a two year development programme between itself and Selex Galileo to demonstrate a catapult launch capability for the Selex Falco UAS, company managing director Juha Moisio noted new generation advanced tactical UAS typically have increased endurance and carry a greater combination of sensor types that it is able to use simultaneously.

The ability to deliver stores is now also seen as essential, he adds.

Moisio adds that catapult launch had been a feature of second and early third generation tactical UAS but market trends moved away from this type of capability during the late 1990s and early 2000’s as air vehicle designers assessed that additional platform capability would necessitate runway dependent aircraft.

“It is clear that the anticipated direction of capability evolution has held true, but only for the larger classes of systems that we now understand as representing the medium altitude, long endurance (MALE) types,” he says.

“While high end tactical class systems have encroached on the MALE category in terms of endurance and multiple sensor capability, air vehicle design and continued enhancement of pneumatic launcher technologies have in fact allowed the zero point launch option to be retained.”

Moisio adds that his company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of France`s Sagem concern, has conducted zero-launch studies for the Denel Seeker II.