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Unmanned Versatile and Mission Ready

Military Vehicle Systems talks to UMS Skeldar about their in service SKELDAR V-200

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The advantage of a helicopter UVS is the fact that it can be operated in regions where airfields are unavailable, under severe weather conditions, during night time and in conditions that prove too risky for a pilot. The converted helicopter is indispensable for militaries who need to deliver cargo in hard-to-reach areas. Operational limits for high-altitude flights, missions in heavy turbulence or high mountain regions are susceptible, depending on the operational vehicle. We wanted to look at an operational vehicle so spoke to innovative company UMS SKELDAR.

Q: When we talk about UVS we would usually envisage a drone, with the Skeldar V-200 you have a functioning helicopter design; what are the benefits of this type of UVS?

A: The first, and arguably greatest benefit, is the possibility of vertical landing and take-off (VTOL) in confined areas. The helicopter platform also eliminates the need for hard infrastructure, such as runways.

For overland operations in particular, slow, low altitude flight provide the possibility of flying undetected by both electronic instruments and human sight. This can only really be achieved by rotary wing aircraft. Essentially, a helicopter design allows for a far more discreet way of operating. Given the right circumstances, you can hover just above or behind the crest of a hill. For comparison, a fixed-wing platform can only loiter or circle above a point of interest which makes it far more susceptible to being detected by either an instrument or naked eye.

Q: One of the great features of the V-200 is its numerous payload and sensor applications which are almost plug and play, could you talk about the varied uses and applications?

A: The SKELDAR V-200’s open architecture allows for an almost limitless number of payload combinations to be installed. Those can be both Customer off The Shelf (COTS) type sensors or customer mission-specific units. Applications range from Electronic Warfare (EW) thanks to signal sensing payloads, to radar units and EO/IR cameras. In an overland setting, the SKELDAR V-200 could come into its own when equipped with COMMINT (Communication Intelligence) and (Electronic Warfare) EW sensors.

Q: The V-200 has been used successfully by Naval forces across the world, you are now, with Marshall, providing a land-based unit which can be vehicle transported could you explain how the partnership evolved?

A: With the emergence of geopolitical conflicts in recent times, land forces expressed an interest in operating a system that could be deployed from non-permissive sites with no hard infrastructure for extended periods. Naturally an unmet need in the market emerged and UMS SKELDAR and Marshall Land Systems have jointly developed the Battlefield Deployable Unmanned Aircraft Solution (BDUAS). The modular and expandable container solution is an excellent system for a variety of missions and could be deployed not only by armies but also by special forces units and coast guards to name just two examples. Crucially, the BDUAS solution can be rapidly redeployed in different locations and serves as an effective Forward Operating Base (FOB). An expandable container allows for more consumables and Line Replacement Unit (LRUs) to be carried then would otherwise be possible in an all-terrain capable van for example. The BDUAS can be a full workshop as well as a Remote Pilot Station (RPS). The additional space offered ultimately enables longer term deployments.

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