Saab performing tests with unmanned aircraft

Saab Aerospace is currently performing studies in order to develop unmanned
aircraft. Tests are now being carried out with a model of a UAV (Unmanned
Aerial Vehicle) in a wind tunnel at FFA (the Aeronautical Research Institute
of Sweden) in Stockholm. The aim of the tests is to study the flight
enveloped, i.e. to measure aerodynamic forces. The UAV must be able to operate
as a complement to today's piloted aircraft.

The project is being carried out within the framework of the National
Aeronautics Research Program (NFFP) and is designated NFFP 272 UAV
configurations. The project is a collaborative effort by Saab, the FFA,
Ericsson, Saab Avionics and Saab Dynamics. The name given to the UAV is SHARC
(Swedish Highly Advanced Research Configuration). SHARC is 10 m long and has a
wingspan of 8 m (see accompanying diagram).

The aim of the project is to design a UAV configuration for attack missions at
low serial cost and with low signatures, and to demonstrate that this is
achievable. The project has been in progress for several years and has so far
proved successful.
Cost and signature results have been presented as planned.

During the introductory phase, April-June 1998, nine configurations were
defined, representing different construction philosophies. Work has since
continued and in March 1999 a low-speed model was tested at the same time as a
test with weapons deployment from an internal weapons bay was performed in the
FFA wind tunnels. The work is currently in a phase with tests in the T1500
wind tunnel at FFA to study the flight envelope.

The project has been oriented towards: concept design, aerodynamics, design,
production engineering, strength, propulsion system, radar and IR signatures,
and weapons separation.

The requirements for the study has been characterized by a continuation of the
Swedish goal of breaking the trend towards continuously more expensive
aircraft, which began with the Gripen project.
By designing the vehicle with a low signature, it is possible to avoid
detection and counter-attack from anti-aircraft units and interceptors. No
weapons sensors are needed to detect enemy fire or countermeasures. Neither is
there any need for evasive maneuvers with steep turns involving loads of 20 g
or more. This keeps down costs.

In order to be able to use existing weapons, which are not of stealth type, an
internal weapons bay is required. The attack mission has therefore been chosen
to study the effect on the configuration.

Facts about NFFP
NFFP stands for Nationellt Flygtekniskt Forsknings-Program, which is intended
to coordinate Swedish research and development resources in industry, research
institutes and universities. NFFP contributes to strengthening the
competitiveness of the Swedish aviation industry and the nation's ability to
actively participate in and benefit from international research collaboration.

Facts about Saab
Saab is northern Europe's leading high technology company, mainly active in
the defence, aviation and space industry, and offers advanced products and
systems based on sophisticated information technology. The business areas
within Saab are Infomatics, Aerospace, Dynamics, Technical Support and
Services, Space and Aviation Services.

With a wide variety of advanced systems, products and services, Saab focuses
on both independent and collaborative projects in military and commercial
growth areas where we are among the world's leaders.

For photographs, contact Åsa Roth, tel +46 13 180152,
fax +46 13 185427, e-mail:

Photographs and graphics are also available on the Internet:

For further information on Saab:
For further information on FFA:

For further information, contact:
Jan Ahlgren, tel: +46 183907, e-mail:


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