New version of V-200B announced at Farnborough International Airshow

UMS Skeldar has announced the launch of the V-200B, a comprehensive modification of the industry’s pioneering mid-sized heavy fuel engine unmanned helicopter.

The new version of heavy-fuel engine rotary UAV will have 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 was announced at Farnborough International Airshow 2018.

The V-200B completed its trials earlier in 2018, following an intensive modification audit, based on in-theatre performance feedback and the strategic imperative to further widen competitive advantage.

Maritime market hots up for rotary UAVs

David Willems, Head of Business Development at UMS Skeldar, the UAV joint venture between Sweden’s Saab and UMS AERO of Switzerland said: “It is no secret that more players are attempting to enter the maritime market for rotary UAVs. 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.”

New management team

The past 12 months have witnessed substantial corporate strategic initiatives for UMS Skeldar with a new senior management team, headed by ex-Saab industrial business head Axel Cavalli-Bjorkman. These include:

  • Alignment of production and supply chain at Linköping in Sweden;
  • Acquisition of German world-leading engine manufacturer Hirth;
  • Heavyweight partnership programmes aimed at navy contracts including a recent collaboration with QinetiQ to provide the platforms and solutions for a joint Canadian maritime programme, including the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) UAV contract.

According to Willems, 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. He added: “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.”

Programmes and deployment including the Spanish Navy European Union Naval Force (Op Atalanta) and Indonesian military (TNI).

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