France-based aerospace company Thales has successfully flown a half-scale prototype of its UAS 100 long-range unmanned aircraft system (UAS/drone). The final version of the hybrid-electric UAS 100 is expected to have a range of greater than 100 kilometers (54 NM), be capable of carrying a 10-kilogram (22-pound) payload and feature a “jam-resistant” navigation system. It was designed to meet the requirements of the new European Special Condition – Light Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SC-LUAS) regulations.
“With this new long-range UAS, Thales is providing the trusted solution needed for civil, government and military inspection and security applications,” said Yannick Assouad, Thales executive vice president for avionics. “As well as meeting today’s operational requirements, the new system paves the way for the air mobility solutions of tomorrow.”
The UAS 100, which Thales hopes to have certified in 2023, is geared toward missions including infrastructure inspection, coastal surveillance, border surveillance, event security, search-and-rescue and military operations. It was developed in partnership with aircraft manufacturer Issoire Aviation and drone autopilot solutions company Hionos. UAS 100 development has also been supported by the French Ministry of the Armed Forces Defence Innovation Agency (DIA).