Introduction to Target Drones
Target Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (Unmanned Aerial Target, UAT) used for the development and testing of military systems, training military crews on threat identification, destruction tests of both anti-aircraft systems, and piloted combat aircraft. These unmanned vehicles emulate the behavior of real aerial threats. For that purpose, these aircraft are required to reach very high speeds and dynamics.
In order to perform effectively in these scenarios, a high-quality flight control system is required. UAV Navigation range of autopilots counts on the MIL-STD 810F and MIL-STD 461F , an aerospace and military certification required by many Departments of Defense, proving to be a great system for clients all over the world. In this sense, making use of those years of experience, the company has developed the VECTOR-400, an autopilot geared towards target drones.
The vast knowledge accumulated has allowed our engineers to design a system capable of performing extremely difficult exercises, such as evasive G-turn maneuvers or sea skimming, an operation where the target drones fly a few meters above the sea surface to hide from ship radars. Besides, the flight control solution allows the operator to program and execute a fully automatic operation from the catapult launch to the parachute recovery and change the flight plan during the flight adapting to the ever-changing demands from the client. The military crew just has to fire and they can then forget about the control of the aircraft. The system is compatible with multiple jet engine manufacturers with the requirement of air speeds (+350 kts). Another important capability is activating different detection enhancers (to better emulate a bigger target) or countermeasures automatically or commanded from the GCS to better simulate a real threat, from pyrotechnic flares to smoke pods. Other complex operations supported may include operating multiple targets at the same time in MULTI-UAV or MULTI-Operator operations, UAV handover between control stations, or the towing of secondary targets behind the UAV.
The high autonomy of the system allows it to complete the mission in case of data link loss and includes safety algorithms like stall protection, flight envelope limitation, or self-diagnostics.
UAV Navigation has also designed systems for other kinds of military targets, such as (Unmanned Surface Vehicles) USV targets or captive towed targets, where the towing aircraft is manned.
Years of research and development in this field have made the company acquire a deeper understanding and knowledge of these aircraft through the years. This has led to the company creating a product currently used by some of the most successful companies in the UAT sector around the world like SCR (Sistemas de Control Remoto) or AAA (Air Affairs Australia).