The latest addition to Skeldar’s ISR capabilities is its integration with the Saab Multi-Sensor Intelligence Cell.
The MSIC is a flexible ground-based system developed by defence and security company Saab to collect, process, analyse and report intelligence data, providing the functional layers between airborne surveillance units and C4I systems.
By integrating the MSIC, Skeldar adds a proven tactical capability that has been in service since 2005 with the Swedish Armed Forces. MSIC has been used for Swedish UAV operations in Afghanistan and for Gripen reconnaissance missions over Libya, during Operation Unified Protector in 2011.
The powerful combination of Skeldar and MSIC gives users a tool that can close the ‘ISR loop’ by delivering real-time sensor analysis for the mission commander to evaluate. Additionally, MSIC also gives users a vital ‘sensor-to-shooter’ capability as it can provide precise, CAT 1 targeting co-ordinates from the sensor data.
“The MSIC has always been able to handle data from multiple ISR sources by acting as a standalone intelligence centre. Now we also have a system that enables us to scale-up the functionality of MSIC into a more integrated part of the ground control station (GCS) of a UAS system like Skeldar,” says Björn Klerestam, MSIC product manager at Saab.
The Skeldar and MSIC integration work was undertaken in-house by Saab’s development teams. The full combined functionality was verified during a series of Skeldar flights at Saab’s Motala test facility in February 2014.
Along with its basic features of a modern heavy fuel engine, small logistic footprint and multi-payload capability, each Skeldar system provides customers with a full support solution, including training, documentation, spares, logistics and maintenance schedules.
2013 was an intense year for Saab’s Skeldar VTOL UAS system. It was put to the test in the humidity and salty winds of the Indian Ocean, the sand and heat of American deserts and the unforgiving cold of a Nordic winter.
Thanks to its Swedish roots, the system is inherently able to cope with operations in harsh sub-zero temperatures, but last year, Skeldar also saw action in the desert heat of southwestern USA when live trials were performed in New Mexico and Utah. Skeldar’s first operational deployment came last autumn when the Spanish Navy deployed Skeldar aboard a ship in the Bay of Aden, as part of Operation Atalanta.
“There is a great interest in the naval market, as proven by the Spanish deployment, but there is also a growing interest in Skeldar from customers in other domains,” says Björn Palmér, director of Saab’s Product Area Tactical UAS.