UMS Skeldar Focus on Naval Power UAV Roll Out
In a deliberate move to create a wider competitive advantage for its flagship unmanned helicopter, UMS Skeldar, the UAV joint venture between Saab and UMS AERO, announces the launch of the V-200B, a comprehensive modification of the mid-sized heavy fuel engine VTOL, in tandem with a production drive in Sweden to support its worldwide marketing programme targeting maritime customers.
The provider of rotary unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) solutions and avionics software confirmed its global focus on maritime applications is to be spearheaded by the V-200B, the new version of the heavy-fuel engine rotary UAV, boasting enhanced features including extended endurance, engine management system and payload capabilities. The commitment to comprehensive modifications to what is widely regarded as the template for the mid-range Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) rotary UAV is announced at the Farnborough International Airshow 2018.
“It is no secret that more players are attempting to enter the maritime market for rotary UAVs,” David Willems, Head of Business Development at UMS SKELDAR, said. “Recent navy contracts have stipulated the role and specification, and this has confirmed our strategy of development is absolutely the right move at the right time. We are able to fly longer, over five hours, at maximum payload capacity through weight savings from design modifications and our 2-stroke engine configuration provides significantly unmatched time between overhauls (TBO), all of which are vital to maritime operations by military and civilian customers.”
The past 12 months have witnessed substantial corporate strategic initiatives for UMS Skeldar, thanks to a new senior management team, headed by ex-Saab industrial business head Axel Cavalli-Bjorkman. Achievements include: the alignment of production and supply chain at Linköping in Sweden; the acquisition of engine manufacturer Hirth; heavyweight partnership programmes aimed at navy contracts including the recent collaboration with QinetiQ to provide the platforms and solutions for a joint Canadian maritime programme, including the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) UAV contract, ESG in Germany, a number of undisclosed navy tenders and the declared mission to win the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) next stage tender: Sea 129 Phase 5 Stage 1 Maritime Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (MTUAS).
According to Willems, the V-200B has an, “unassailable lead on its competitors, from endurance and robustness to maintenance regimes and proven payload sensors. The Hirth developed engine, with heavy fuel licensed technology from Australia’s Orbital Corporation, was the first medium maritime UAV to be heavy fuel capable, able to operate on Jet A-1, JP-5 and JP-8 fuels. The major difference between the V-200 engine and those of our competitors is that our engine is more tolerant of the JP-5 quality and that is a big advantage. Our maintenance schedules and ease of access to engine compartments mean that we outperform and stay longer in the air before any need for overhaul. These are non-negotiable advantages for operational commanders.”