Pipistrel relaunches drone for surveillance market

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Slovenia-based aerospace firm Pipistrel is to develop a version of its latest unmanned drone for the defense sector in partnership with unmanned aerial systems company C-Astral Aerospace.

Pipistrel’s hybrid-electric Nuuva range of cargo drones was launched last September, consisting of the Nuuva V300 — a design that aims to be capable of carrying a payload of up to 460kg (1,014 lbs) and the Nuuva V20, which will have a 20kg (44 lbs) payload capacity. The company said first deliveries of the V300 will take place during 2023.

The Nuuva V20 is being relaunched as a surveillance drone under a new development program being conducted with C-Astral Aerospace.

The development program will add C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) capability to the Nuuva V20 with a new range of payloads, sensors and data link options. First deliveries of the Nuuva V20, configured for visual line of sight and beyond visual line of sight operations is planned to begin by March 2022.

As part of the program C-Astral Aerospace will help provide proven C4ISR solutions intuitive ground station elements and support suites.

Boštjan Bremec, chief technology officer of C-Astral Aerospace said, “We are excited to work with Pipistrel on the advanced NUUVA V20 family of unmanned systems and widen this efficient platform customer base from the commercial to the C4ISR world. Our joint sales and support through Pipistrel, C-Astral  and Terra Drone networks will also provide a unique value global support and MRO structure for our new customers.”

Ivo Boscarol, founder and CEO of Pipistrel said, “To make innovation a true success, you need to first set the trend, always respect market feedback and deliver unique, unprecedented solutions, which solve significant customer challenges.

“The relaunched NUUVA V20, also thanks to C-Astral Aerospace’s competences, will create a superior product, fulfilling exactly what our customers have asked us to do. At the same time, I see that the Nuuva V20 can be a unique complement to the larger Nuuva V300 or be used as a standalone highly efficient and capable platform.

Pipistrel’s drones leverage technology also used in the company’s Velis electric aircraft, which was certified by EASA last year.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before eventually becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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