ADCOM, an unmanned systems developer from the UAE is teaming with the Russian helicopter designer Berkut Aero design bureau to turn the Russian designed Berkut VL light helicopter VL into an armed unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV). Adcom Systems representative Karim Badir confirmed to RIA Novosti that the company was considering the Russian chopper as a basis for a new attack drone. According to the Novosti news agency the two companies said they are considering the Berkut VL helicopter as a model for a drone to be stationed aboard naval vessels. Berku VL is a ‘superlight’ two-seat helicopter equipped with a Conver VAZ or Lycoming engine. It has a range of up to 600 kilometers.
The two-seat piston single – which will compete with the Robinson R22 – made its first flight in early 2012 and has logged about 400 flight hours since. Berkut plans to offer their new superlight for around $70,000 per unit (when sold in volumes), about a third of the price of a comparable Robinson 22 chopper.
The prototype is powered by a Russian-made 147shp (110kW) AvtoVAZ piston engine. Berkut plans to equip serial production choppers with a 150hp Lycoming powerplant, increasing maximum speed to 100 kt., elevate operational ceiling to 13,400 ft. and expand its operating range to 850 km.
At the recent MAKS airshow in Moscow Bureau said it is proceeding with the certification of its light coaxial-rotor helicopter, and expect certification by mid-2014.
In July 2013 Russian sources confirmed the Russian military is planning to purchase aerial drones namely unmanned air systems (UAS) in the United Arab Emirates. Sources at ADCOM indicated the Russians were interested in two of the company’s largest platforms, known as United 40 Block 5.
Israel’s Sky Sapience company has delivered today to the Israel Defense Forces’ Land Forces Command the first pre-production example of the HoverMast 100 – an autonomous, tethered hovercraft carrying a stabilized electro-optical payload. The system was delivered at a proving ground on the slopes of Mt. Carmel, where the company regularly tests the systems.
The system will now enter operational evaluation with the IDF, leading to operational use with front line units. The company CEO and founder Gabriel Shahor said the company is currently establishing the assembly line for the new product line, once the line is active, the company is expected to deliver additional Hovermasts to international customers. Sky Sapience will demonstrate the Hovermast 100 at the Autonomous, Unmanned Systems & Robotics (AUS&R) convention taking place in Israel November 26.
Hovermast answers the requirement for rapid and timely intelligence gathering at the tactical echelon. The system employs a sophisticated, electrically powered platform using a main lift fan and four stabilizing rotors, maintaining the platform in flight, hovering and maintaining stable line of sight with a target of interest even when subjected to strong winds or wind gusts. The system carries sophisticated multi-sensor payloads operating day and night under all weather conditions. Hovermast 100 carries 13 pounds (6 kg) of payloads. Exclusive insight available to members – subscribe now!
In the stowed position the HoverMast automatically folds into a compact 72 cm diameter container, carried on a vehicle flatbed or roof, mounted on UGVs or All Terrain Vehicles (ATV), or small naval craft; making the system especially suited for Special Forces, border and port protection, and infantry missions.
Sky Sapience is currently developing three variants of the system – Hovermast 100 is the first model developed to meet the IDF requirements. A larger system, capable of carrying heavier payloads is being developed for a foreign customer. Two additional variants are also in progress – Hovermast M for use in maritime environments (on board manned or unmanned vessels) and Hovermast C, featuring simpler, a more affordable platform and intuitive operation is also designed for civilian operators.