Airbus Defence and Space has designed its latest unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), SAGITTA. This new type of aircraft has been successfully tested and will enter series production.
Using a pre-programmed course, Airbus tested the unmanned jet-propelled demonstrator at its test site in Overberg, South Africa. The UAV flew completely autonomously for around seven minutes.
This was the first phase of testing, which also included extensive ground tests. The flying-wing construction showed excellent flight characteristics during this test.
Airbus claims successful test of unmanned aircraft
The project SAGITTA is led by Airbus Defence & Space and has the goal to further develop existing UAV technology to a higher maturity level. To reach this several PhD students from different research institutions working on relevant research topics. The project team includes the Technical University Munich, the University of the German Armed Forces in Munich, the University of Applied Sciences in Ingolstadt, the Technical University in Chemnitz, Airbus Group Innovations and the German Aerospace Center.
Unmanned aerial vehicles are becoming more common for civil and military applications, which are currently served by manned aircraft or are not deduced at the moment. In the context of civil applications of such aircraft current challenges are the integration into the civil airspace as well as autonomous mission conduction. Military applications add the demand for low radar cross section and low power radiating data links.
The development of a scaled flight demonstrator with wing span of 3m and maximum takeoff weight of 150kg is common goal in the project. This demonstrator aircraft exhibits a typical shape to achieve a small radar cross section provides the capability to flight upside down to point with a clean surface without edges and inlets into the direction of flight.
The Institute of Flight Systems develops the electrical power supply system, the actuation system for the flight control surfaces, the fuel system, a retractable landing gear and designs the complete wiring of the aircraft. Addressed research topics are in the area of air-to-air refueling and novel concepts for aircraft system monitoring.
The project sees Airbus working together with institutes from the technical universities of Munich and Chemnitz, the University of the Federal Armed Forces (Universität der Bundeswehr) in Munich, the Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences and the German Aerospace Centre DLR to jointly develop advanced technologies for unmanned flight. The project started with a feasibility study of the flying-wing configuration.