Steadicopter Debuts Black Eagle 50H Hybrid VTOL UAS
Israel’s Steadicopter has unveiled its Black Eagle 50H hybrid vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aircraft system (VTOL UAS), which it says is the first in its class and combines the best of both its electric and petrol-powered Black Eagle UAS aircraft.
Noam Lidor, Steadicopter vice president for sales, marketing and business development, says the company has noticed increasing requirements from customers for VTOL UAS to fly longer with greater payload, which could not be fulfilled by either the petrol-powered Black Eagle 50 or the electric Black Eagle 50E. The company managed to source for a hybrid engine and 7.5-kW generator from the market and integrate it into the Black Eagle chassis, enabling it to achieve endurance of 5 hr. with a 12-kg (26-lb.) payload and 50-kg maximum takeoff weight (MTOW). By comparison, the Black Eagle 50E, with an identical payload and MTOW, has a total flight time of 1 hr. 50 min.
The Black Eagle 50H can achieve maximum speeds of 70 kt. and a range of 150 km (93 mi.) with data link. Drone tests were done six to eight months ago and the platform is ready for sale.
Lidor says operators can toggle between either power source, for example switching to the battery pack when approaching a target for a more silent, covert mission, although he described rotor blades as making more noise than the engines themselves.
The Black Eagle continues to have the “man-in-the-loop” function, depending on customer and regulation requirements, although Lidor says it is fully capable of being completely autonomous. The ground control system also is able to handle and separate two or more Black Eagles in more complex missions.
He did not say how many customers Steadicopter has, but confirmed it is flying with both security and civilian customers “inside and outside of Israel.” He also indicated that Steadicopter is developing a new product and will be ready to be unveil it in “the coming months.”
The Black Eagle 50H will make its public debut at the Singapore Airshow Feb. 15-18.