15 Jun 15. Mexico introduces UAV tech. Mexico-based company, Drone Tech UAV, is looking forward to completing the test flight programme of its new UAV, the AV-1 Albatross, it was discovered at the Paris Air Show.
While the company was unable to bring the UAV to Paris, there was a video demonstrating the AV-1 Albatross conducting flights tests. Drone Tech UAV is currently working towards finishing flight tests on the AV-1 Albatross UAV and beginning a test campaign on the second UAV in development, the AV-2 Pelican. ‘Flight tests on the AV-2 will follow final development on the vertical take-off and landing [VTOL] capability,’ Arturo Galvan, manager at Drone Tech UAV, said. While the UAVs are both fixed wing aircraft running on gas engines, they are capable of VTOL via electric motors. ‘We are currently working on the final stages of the VTOL technology with the AV-2 and are looking to begin flight tests in July of this year,’ said Galvan. The AV-1 Albatross is the larger of the two aircraft with a wingspan of 5.5m and endurance of up to 60 hours. The AV-2 Pelican has a wingspan of 3.5m.
‘While there is a market for this kind of capability in Mexico, it is a very small market, that’s why we have opened an office in the USA.’
The company’s US office is based in San Antonio, Texas, although Galvan noted that all of the development and technology behind the aircraft came from the company’s Mexico site. ‘In terms of customers we have had interest from people within the US, Mexico and Italy,’ he added. The company has yet to confirm any customers because the products are still in the prototype and test flight phase, according to Galvan, adding that the UAVs will be ready for production within the next 12 months.
‘We would be happy if we were able to start off producing one aircraft per month.’ While the company will order parts for the UAVs from international suppliers, Drone Tech UAV does not have the means to manufacture the UAVs in Mexico; the final assembly is set to take place in the US. (Source: Shephard)
21 Jun 15. Textron sees significant Arab interest in armed Shadow UAVs. Several Arab states are interested in acquiring Textron unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including armed versions of the Shadow, according to Tarek Mekhail, the US company’s vice president for the Middle East operations.
“There is a large amount of interest in unmanned aerial systems in the whole region,” Mekhail told IHS Jane’s during the Paris Air Show. “There’s no one that has gone out and made a really big [UAV] purchase yet [so] the market is wide open right now.”
He said Textron has already sold UAVs to one Middle East customer – he could not name – to help monitor oil and gas infrastructure and that the company currently has two proposals out with potential clients and expected to submit a third before the end of the year.
Mekhail said Middle Eastern countries are looking at all categories of UAVs for a wide spectrum of roles, but that “everyone is interested in an armed UAV”. Noting that the US State Department recently relaxed its rules on the export of armed UAVs, Mekhail said Textron is well-positioned to exploit this demand because it has integrated its Fury weapon onto the Shadow. The Fury is Textron’s version of the Thales laser-guided FreeFall LMM bomb, which weighs less than 6 kg.
Potential customers will have to go through the US military’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme to get armed Shadow UAVs, but Mekhail said none had submitted a formal request for the capability as yet.
Textron Unmanned Systems makes the Shadow 200 and the more advanced Shadow M2 tactical UAVs, as well as the smaller Aerosonde Mk 4.7. Both families are launched using catapults, but the Shadows need a short airstrip to land, while the Aerosonde can be recovered using a net, so can be deployed from naval vessels.
Mekhail said that regional demand had been encouraged by the instability created by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, as well as the c