The Chinese company Ewatt Technology is introducing its new SVU-200 VTUAV to the AUVSI show in Washington. It is the first time the unmanned helicopter is displayed in the USA. While the VTUAV is claimed to be 100% Chinese, it is based on the design of Dennis Fetters, an American currently living in China.
Ewatt plans to increase its production capacity, from an annual capacity of 200 aircraft today to more than 1,000. Ewatt has teamed with Fetter’s US company – Fetters Aerospace – to invest about US$81 million (500 million Yuan) to build a large production base for unmanned aerial vehicles in the city of Wuhan, China. The deal represents the first venture between China and the US in civil drones. Fetters will provide 10 technical and management experts to support the venture.
Ewatt entered the UAV business to provide surveillance systems for power-line inspections. Technical Director of VTOL Vehicles Mr. Dennis Fetters, a pioneer of helicopters, gyroplanes and UAV vehicles. Based on the Star-Lite VTUAV Multi-Task helicopter, the fully autonomous SVU-200 Heavy-Lift multipurpose UAV platform was designed and built by Fetters for Hunan Sunward Science and Technology Co., LTD., in Changsha China.
According to Ewatt founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Zhao Guocheng Ewatt plans to introduce a complete line of VTUAVs over the next three – five years, with a payload capacity of 50, 200 and even 300 kilograms.
The SVU-200 is powered by the Rotax 582 engine, using the Power Enhancement Package (PEP) exhaust system. According to Fetters, the PEP enables the increase in the engines power to 78 horsepower (up from its normal 65). The vehicle is designed to be capable of lifting up to a 200kg maximum useful load and fly at a top-speed up to 209 km/hr. Fetters claims the SVU-200 employs an optimized rotor-head and control system that requires significantly less computer-stability control inputs, compared to other unmanned helicopters.
The SUV-200 has two internal payload bays, one in the nose and one in the rear of the aircraft, and is also equipped with hard-points and capable of hauling sling-loads, or carry an external cargo/payload pod, and even extended-range tanks with extra fuel for longer mission capabilities. External loads can also include 18 rocket tubes and chin-mounted electro optical/infrared sensor payloads.
After April’s Lushan earthquake in Sichuan China, Ewatt sent two of its drones to help record earthquake damage, and help power companies in rebuilding power supplies.