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Saab Global

Skeldar, VTOL Unmanned Aircraft System: Keeping One Step Ahead

3 min read

The Skeldar V- 200 RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft system) is a medium-range VTOL UAV that can hover for hours while providing real-time information to a remote pilot station or to a remote video terminal. Skeldar’s compact layout and future-proof design mean that is equally at home on land or at sea, operating from austere locations in any terrain or from the decks of the smallest naval vessels.

Compatible with future certification requirements for operations in civil airspace, Skeldar is fully autonomous, controlled by high-level commands such as “Point-and-Fly” and “Point-and-See. Skeldar enhances force capabilities by offering full, real-time situational awareness with a variety of payload/sensor options. The platform combines short deployment and turnaround time with mobility and a modular design allowing fast and efficient preparation, transportation and delivery of the system.

UMS Skeldar is a joint venture between Saab AB, which has been the main supplier for aircraft and defense systems to the Swedish armed forces and other countries for more than 80 years and the UMS Aero Group AG, a specialist Swiss company with a strategy to invest in and develop medium sized high-tech products.

The Skeldar V-200 RPAS has been chosen by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the NATO navies of Canada and Germany for their respective programmes to provide a maritime remote surveillance capability. Skeldar is the first VTOL RPAS to enter regular service with any NATO navy and it is the only proven VTOL that can fly on JET-A1, JP5 or JP8 heavy fuel (the same fuel as large manned helicopters) making it interoperable with all helicopter-operating ships.

The V-200 is a best-in-class rotary winged medium-range tactical RPAS for day and night surveillance. Launched from historically difficult locations such as the deck of a ship, a travelling convoy or other confined areas, it provides real-time intelligence and surveillance as a force multiplier for land, civil security and maritime applications. Launch and recovery requires the minimum of personnel and preparation time.

A choice of multiple payloads increases Skeldar’s high effectiveness. It can be equipped with high-definition electro optical and infra-red (EO/IR) sensors, ViDAR wide area land surveillance, AESA SAR radar, AIS and a range of other sensors and mission packages to give users the edge in any environment for wide area surveillance. The Skeldar  is characterized by its robustness and high availability ILS characteristics. To simplify maintenance operations and reduce costs, for example, the equipment compartments are easily accessible via panels that can be quickly opened and closed.

The agile flight envelope of Skeldar air vehicles provides key characteristics for successful operations and missions, especially in urban areas and difficult terrain. Launch and recovery from small areas, keeping pace on the battlefield, as well as find, hold and maintain optimal aspect to area and point of interest, are all easily performed thanks to the rotary wing design.

Integration of the UCS into C4I, combat management system (CMS) and sensor source intelligence cell (SSIC) enables faster and more accurate tasking of the Skeldar system, and also increases the situational awareness for the UAV operators to a level where individual initiatives can be taken in line with the commander’s intentions.

Developed with a low lifecycle cost in mind, the modular design enables system customisation and functional development, with maintenance carried out at unit level. Compartments can be easily accessed for service, maintenance and payload reconfiguration. The Skeldar V-200 RPAS is a highly capable system that can be operated by just two to four people, owing to the ease of use and the low logistical footprint, making it a powerful asset in any mission.