By Paolo Valpolini
With its 1 kg take-off weight and the comparable light payload capacity Novadem’s NK 70 could not cope with some of the missions required to the French company based in Aix-en-Provence. Novadem decided to widen its portfolio of NX UAS solutions adding to the NX 70, available in the defence and in the law enforcement versions, the new NX 160, which has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 8 kg, maximum payload being 2 kg. A quadcopter with a configuration similar to that of the NX70, here the rotors are however fitted under the motor nacelle rather than over, 2.5 kg of the airframe are represented by batteries, which ensure an endurance of 1 hour without payload and 45 minutes at MTOW. The NX 160 can be fully dismounted in order to host it into a dedicated rucksack to increase its portability by an operator, i.e. from Special Forces.
The man machine interface remains the ground control station (GCS) used by the NX 70, considerably reducing training should a customer equipped with the smaller Novadem UAS choose the NX 160. It also allows multi-drone missions, the GCS allowing the operator to switch from one NX to the other.
The standard optronic suite is based on Inpixal’s Asio 155 three-axis stabilised gimballed turret with visible and thermal sensors, the latter at 640×480 resolution, while the main sensor can be easily changed n the field as it is contained into dedicated module. A hook allows to carry droppable payloads, such as buoys, smoke markers, etc.
According to Novadem the NX 160 should be available by late 2021, early 2022.
A specific payload has already been developed for the NX 160, thanks to the cooperation between Novadem and Proengin, the French company based in Saint-Cyr-l’École, 15 km west of Paris, specialised in CBRN solutions. Well known for its AP4C universal chemical detector, Proengin developed a lightweight sensor, less than 2 kg to be carried by the NX 160, based on the proven flame spectrometer technology. Named AP4C+, it can detect military chemical agents, industrial agents, pharmaceutical agents, as well as 4th generation agents of recent development.
Proengin explained to EDR On-Line that its systems do not need a data base, as they work at chemical element level, which allows universal detection. In fact the drone version weighs around 1 kg; the system allows a near real time chemical threat detection as it sends the information that are visualised on the drone operator’s console.
Beside the use on-board the Novadem drone, the AP4C+ can of course be used by individual SF operators thanks to its light weight. It can easily be carried on the combat vest, and different alarm modes are available, such as the vibration one that ensures maximum stealthness.
The AP4C+ will be launched in 2022, in parallel with the availability of the NX 160, of which it will be one of the main sensors proposed to customers.
Photos Novamed, Proengin and P. Valpolini