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24 Nov 17. China’s Cloud Shadow – Flexible but Short Endurance. A family of jet-powered Cloud Shadow unmanned air systems displayed at the Dubai air show offer a potent mix of high-altitude intelligence-gathering and weapons capabilities – but unusually short endurance, according to specifications released by AVIC.
AVIC’s design philosophy breaks from the multi-mission approach used for many Western UAS designs. Each of the three variants in the Cloud Shadow family is optimised for a single role, in the form of the imagery-collecting CS-1, electronic-eavesdropping CS-2 and the hunter-killer CS-3.
A slide presentation that played on a loop on AVIC’s stand at the show revealed key details of each variant’s capabilities and performance.
Overall, the Cloud Shadow’s maximum altitude and range place the family at the top of AVIC’s portfolio of exportable UAS products, which also include the medium-altitude Wing Loong family and the low-altitude A-Hawk I and II quadcopters. The Cloud Shadow is designed to fly at 340kt (630km/h) and cruise at altitudes from 41,000-42,600ft, AVIC says.
But the aircraft’s endurance falls far short of the 10-30h endurance of most competitors in the high-altitude, long-endurance or medium-altitude, long-endurance market. The intelligence-gathering CS-1 and CS-2 variants are listed with a 6h endurance. The weapons-carrying CS-3 can operate up to 5h at a time, AVIC says.
A clue to the Cloud Shadow’s relatively short endurance is AVIC’s choice of engine. The company says the UAS family is powered by the WP-11C turbojet. According to GlobalSecurity.org, the WP-11C is derived from a 1950s-era French engine, which originally powered the Fouga Magister. Turbomeca sold a manufacturing license to Teledyne CAE to build the engine as the J69 for the US Air Force, and China reportedly acquired J69s after recovering jet-powered Ryan Firebee drones operating over Vietnam.
AVIC also claims that the Cloud Shadow family has some ability to operate undetected within contested airspace, as it has an “electromagnetic silent” mode. (Source: UAS VISION/FlightGlobal)
23 Nov 17. The new ground control station developed by Delair and ECA Group, French specialists in civil, defence and security mini-drones, is changing the game for collaborative drone missions. To succeed in drone-based security missions, the ground control station (GCS), is a decisive element, since it allows the operator to ensure its effectiveness.
Via a ground control station running on a ruggedized laptop specifically designed to withstand the harshness of field missions, the operator will plan his mission, pilot the drone and analyze the data from embedded sensors in real time. It is the ground control station that will play a vital role and its intuitiveness and compatibility with different types of terrain and missions will largely determine the success of an
Partners since 2016, Delair and ECA Group have co-developed this new generation of ground station (GCS). The objective is to operate both the product family of the UAV IT180 (mini-drone vertical take-off and landing) as well as the family of Delair drones, including the DT26X (mini-drone with fixed wing).
Fixed-wing UAVs, such as the DT26X, and rotary-wing UAVs, such as the IT180, are complementary and can therefore be used together on missions; The first will ensure the surveillance of an area and the second will intervene in support in case of detection of a threat.
“Thanks to the new GCS, collaborative drone missions are gaining considerably in performance. This type of mission now becomes easier to manage via a single interface and by a single operator. With the new ground station the intervention forces gain especially in precision of information and intervention reactivity.”, says Francis Duruflé, sales manager for Aerial Drones busine