Alpha Unmanned Systems has shown the Alpha A900 drone at Feindef (Madrid), according to the company, for “maritime environments”. The Spanish UAV has recently been acquired by the US Department of Defense. Specifically, four systems will become available for the United States, although they have not yet started operating.
The Alpha A900 is an unmanned helicopter that has a range of four hours and can carry a payload of four kg. One of the differentiating factors is its ability to perform its tasks at sea, as explained by Juan Perella, senior project manager at Alpha Unmanned Systems: “We put a lot of emphasis on adopting it in this environment because many of our customers have to operate from ships. need to land, take off and complete the mission”.
Wind resistance of 45 kmph
Among the qualities that allow drones to carry out missions in marine environments, Perrella highlights resistance. “It is designed to resist the corrosion that the sea throws at it and is capable of flying with strong winds. In fact, it supports gusts of up to 45 kilometers per hour during flight, ” he explained. In addition, the system can operate with the heavier fuels that ships typically use, so “it makes refueling much easier.”
The Alpha A900 is designed primarily for search and rescue missions, although the project manager also recalled that some customers successfully use it for other tasks. “For example, it is designed to do topographic surveys over vast areas by flying with a laser radar that creates a cloud of points. This is something that previously used to be done by hand and was very expensive,” he said .
As per the cruising speed of the UAS, it is 60 kilometers per hour. Along with this, according to the company, the drone is more efficient. However, the helicopter can reach a maximum speed of 100 kmph.
One of the favorable aspects highlighted by Alpha Unmanned Systems is the light weight of the helicopter, which does not exceed 25 kg. As such, it is put in a “less restrictive category to fly,” according to Perella, who points out that this is a relevant factor for the civilian environment. “It makes deployment and operation at the permit level much easier,” he said.