At IDEX 2023 Steadicopter of Israel was exhibiting its Eagle family of rotorcraft UAVs at the EDT (Emirates Defense Technology) stand, following an agreement between the two companies for a commercial cooperation aimed at promoting the products, initially in the UAE. Talks between the two companies have been ongoing for a few months, the agreement being unveiled at IDEX, its scope being seen in perspective to cope also with potential needs of Gulf Cooperation Council users in defence and homeland security fields.
At the EDT stand it was possible to see a Black Eagle 50H, the letter standing for hybrid, in a new configuration, fitted with the µMPR (micro Maritime Patrol Radar) developed by Bird Aerosystems of Israel.
With a 50 kg MTOW of which 12 kg are represented by the payload, The Black Eagle 50H has a 3.5 hours endurance, its data link providing an operational range of 150 km from the ground control station. Cruising speed is 45 knots, while maximum speed is 70 knots, the 16,500 feet service ceiling ensuring a high altitude operations capability. The 50H variant is the result of the hybridation between the gas-powered Black Eagle 50 and the electric powered Black Eagle 50E, and allows to operate in electric-only mode to reduce the acoustic signature, the electric propulsion also helping in obtaining the aforementioned high altitude flight capability.
At the EDT booth the Black Eagle 50H was fitted with two payloads, a chin-mounted optronic turret providing day/night visual feed both for navigation purposes as well as for intelligence gathering and target acquisition, and behind it the µMPR radar. A Ka band radar, it weighs less than 7 kg, power consumption being under 200 W. It can track up to 50 targets simultaneously, gimbal rate being 25°/s, the range against a 1,000 m2 RCS ship being 40 km. It comes in a single compact LRU and according to Bird Aerospace it has a high performance MTI (Moving Target Indicator) that allows it to scan, detect and track surface vessels. The coupling of the Black Eagle 50H and the µMPR generates a low footprint aerial sensor system, the platform total length being 3.1 meters with a rotor diameter of 2.8 meters, which can be operated from small vessels or oil platforms, considerably increasing situational awareness.
The other Steadicopter product that could be seen at the EDT stand was the Golden Eagle, seen also at Eurosatory 2022, armed with an assault rifle. A derivative of the Black Eagle 50E it has a 7 kg payload capacity, an over 70 minutes endurance thanks to the battery pack powering its electric motor, and can operate up to 18,000 ft. It can be fitted with various types of weapons such as assault rifles, sniper rifles, 40 mm single shot grenade launchers, and other, its weapon being shot with utmost precision thanks to the use of the SMASH Dragon robotic payload. Developed by Smart Shooter, this AI-based technology provides optimal situational awareness as well as autonomous multi-target classification and tracking, ensuring high first shot kill capability.
Photos courtesy P. Valpolini