Qioptiq logo Raytheon Global MilSatCom


06 Mar 04. DRS Technologies Unmanned Systems Division showed BATTLESPACE two new UAV products during AUSA, Neptune and Sentry. In addition the company has combined with EADS to produce a series of payloads for UAV systems combining the EADS MicroSar with the extensive range of DRS advanced EO/IR systems, already in extensive use for other defense applications.

The Neptune™ air vehicle is the latest in a series of unmanned tactical air vehicles designed and manufactured by DRS Unmanned Technologies. This UAV has been optimized for at-sea launch and recovery and, therefore, is catalogued as a Maritime UAV (MUAV). However, this UAV has land-launch and recovery capability and can be applied in many tactical mission scenarios, as well.

This 6-foot long, 7-foot wing span air vehicle can be disassembled into three parts and carried in a transport case already mounted on the launcher. One of the aircraft’s unique features is a pair of built-in receiver tubes, which allows the UAV to slide onto its launch rails for stowing compactly inside the transport container ready to pneumatically auto launch in a matter of minutes.

The UAV can be recovered on land or in water. Its propulsion system is raised above the fuselage and can continue to operate until the water landing process is complete. Electronic and sensor systems are protected from water intrusion above the float line. A new integrated Digital Autopilot (iDAP) is the heart of the avionics suite, with interfaces to the payload control module, environmental sensor module and the communications module.

The Ground Control Station is a suitcase-sized computer terminal interfaced with the communications module and the air vehicle hand controller. The system has capability for mission planning and flight plan update. It handles up to 100 waypoints and is designed to operate primarily in autonomous flight profile modes. Operator intervention is required for payload management when over areas of interest. Neptune’s UHF digital data link is optimized for secure operation over open water and has an operational range nearing 40 nautical miles. When operating with sensor payloads, the system will provide target coordinates on objects of interest. An optional Remote Terminal Receiver allows reception of the UAV’s video away from the ground station.

Neptune™ was specifically developed to address tactical military operations over land or water, where formal runway systems are unavailable. It can be deployed from surface vessels and to be recovered for day or night operations. The primary payload is either a color camera or thermal imager. Alternatively, it can be configured to drop payloads up to 20 pounds. Other payloads easily can be integrated via the universal payload control module onboard the UAV.


– Optimized for at-sea launch and recovery
– Transports compactly and launches quickly
– Land launch and recovery capabilities also available
– Suitcase-sized ground control station
– Ideal for tactical military operations over land or water

– Gross tow: 80 lbs.
– Wing span: 7.0 ft.
– Payload weight: 20 lbs.
– Length: 6.0 ft.
– Height: 20 in.
– Power plant: 2 stroke, 15 HP
– Fuel: MO gas

Performance Data

– Altitude: 8,000 ft.
– Effective altitude: 3,000 ft.
– Endurance: 4 hours
– Max speed: 85 KTS
– Cruise speed: 70 KTS
– Loiter speed: 60 KTS
– Launch: zero length pneumatic launcher
– Recovery: skid or water landing

Versatile, robust, proven
operational capability.
“Ready Today”

Constructed of lightweight composite materials, DRS’s Sentry® is a small, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), which offers superior performance and maximum payload capabilities. The carbon fiber airframe is very resilient and damage tolerant, providing an extended service life for the entire vehicle system.

The complete Sentry® package includes a pneumatic launcher, which permits launches from confined, restricted or unimproved sites, and

Back to article list