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Automatic autorotation now available

Alpha Unmanned Systems and UAV Navigation jointly announced today the introduction of a fully automatic autorotation feature on the Alpha 800 platform that sets it apart from its competitors.

Autorotation, a critical capability for helicopters in case of engine or tail rotor failure, is described as ‘gliding the craft’, something all manned helicopter pilots are trained to do. It is notoriously difficult to achieve and therefore takes extended practice. In the case of a UAV helicopter, no automatic autorotation has been possible… until now.

First of its kind

The new capability represents an important step forward in that it enables a UAV in distress to be safely landed. Minimizing risk to people and property on the ground, it also greatly increases the likelihood that the payload and other expensive components on the platform will be recovered.

Alpha Unmanned Systems and UAV Navigation have been collaborating on this technology for several years, the robust Alpha 800 fitted with sensors and hardware to feed the necessary information to UAV Navigation’s VECTOR autopilot. The Alpha 800 platform has proven to be very effective for developing software as well as for extensive simulation with an advanced Hardware In the Loop simulator. Actual flight-testing confirmed the results with repeated successful landings following autorotations from a variety of altitudes, wind directions and headings. In all cases, no engine power whatsoever was supplied to the rotors.

Autorotation is just one of the safety features provided by the VECTOR autopilot to the ALPA 800 UAV. The system is also capable of flying in GPS-denied environments and in situations where the onboard Magnetometer is unavailable.

GCS Ground Control Station

The Alpha GCase DUO is a ruggedized portable stand-alone control station designed to operate in harsh conditions and with enormous flexibility.

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UAV Helicopter Alpha Unmanned Systems

Alpha Unmanned Systems, a leading Spanish designer and manufacturer of remotely piloted gasoline-powered UAV helicopters, has been selected to participate in Inmarsat´s UAV Pop-up lab; a unique innovation programme exploring the value of satcoms in the commercial UAV sector. Along-side six other UAV companies, Alpha Unmanned Systems will execute a range of missions using Inmarsat´s world leading, global satellite network, enabling Beyond Line of Sight operations and global resilient command and control capability for safer and more efficient flight operations.

As part of the Pop-up Lab, Alpha Unmanned Systems will integrate the Inmarsat connectivity services using the Cobham AVIATOR UAV 200 terminal onto its Alpha 800. The Alpha 800 is a tactical gasoline powered helicopter UAV that provides 3 hours of continuous flight with a 3 kg payload. It is equipped with the lightest and strongest airframe in its class and a military-grade autopilot with high precision GPS and sensors. The Alpha 800 was originally conceived for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and is now also used for many other services, including delivery of urgently needed supplies.

Using this equipment and services, Alpha will execute a Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) mission to deliver urgent medical supplies in a limited/no radio-frequency coverage area. The mission will utilize Inmarsat satcoms to enable long-range control and real-time video streaming from the Alpha 800 tactical helicopter UAV, aiding the precision delivery of sensitive cargo such as medical supplies. The 3-hour flight time of the Alpha 800 means that a very large area can be covered, and its vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities allow for very precise control during missions.

Inmarsat´s satellite technology brings tremendous benefits for UAV missions in remote areas with poor terrestrial network coverage or rough terrains where radio line-of-sight is hard to achieve. Utilizing Inmarsat’s global L-band network, the Alpha 800 will be easily deployed to execute missions anywhere in the globe, ideal for humanitarian agencies and governments with a need for precision delivery of sensitive, time-critical cargo in remote areas.

Eric Freeman, CEO of Alpha Unmanned Systems said “Inmarsat´s satcom solution is great news for Alpha and our clients. Pilots can now execute longer missions, and in even more difficult terrain, while they themselves can be far from the Alpha 800 and its flight path.”

Jordan Picard, Digital Incubation Lead at Inmarsat, assured “We are delighted to work with companies such as Alpha Unmanned Systems to push the boundaries of innovation in the commercial UAV sector. We are especially interested in the Alpha 800 as a platform to deliver medical supplies in remote environments given its unique VTOL capability and now, its longer flight range enabled by satellite.”

Trial outcomes will be presented at a showcase event on May 30 2019 at Inmarsat’s headquarters. For more information about the Pop-up Lab, please visit http://www.inmarsat.com/UAVLab

Starting this weekend, we will be sending a big delegation to Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. Not just to sight-see, mind you. We’ll be exhibiting at one of the biggest unmanned systems fairs in the Middle East; UMEX. The show will be from Sunday, February 25th until Tuesday, February 27th. You can find is there in Hall 3, Booth B-24. We’re looking forward to speaking with many of you there. Do let us know if you’d like to book a meeting, or just drop by.

Transformación cultural a través del cambio de workplace hacia uno más digital y abierto donde se fomenta la colaboración, potenciando nuevas formas de trabajar y los comportamientos ciberseguros en los empleados.

Altos vuelos – El helicóptero Alpha 800 UAV puede alcanzar los 3.000 metros de altitud y tiene dos horas y media de autonomía. Fabricado por Alpha Unmanned Systems, brinda servicios desde la agricultura y la minería hasta el apoyo naval y tareas de mapeo.

Interview with the Madrid company Alpha Unmanned Systems that coincides with the publication of the approval of a new regulatory framework for drone activity in Spain.