Saab's unmanned helicopter Skeldar is currently in an intensive period. Flights were recently carried out with a heavy fuel powered version of Skeldar and at the same time, final tests and mature tests of Skeldar are continuing.
“Flight testing of the heavy fuel version of Skeldar is progressing according to plan with several heavy fuel engine helicopters in flight testing stage. The robust engine and transmission design of the heavy fuel version of Skeldar gives customers a safe and reliable solution for maritime and land operations,” says Mikael Franzén, Director of Saab’s Product Area Tactical UAS.
The heavy fuel powered version of Skeldar is part of the baseline configuration of the helicopter, which already includes a number of robust and highly adaptable system solutions.
The heavy fuel powered version of Skeldar gives great benefits. Above all, since the existing infrastructure and logistics with regard to fuel for manned aircraft can be used. It also means improved handling in terms of safety when Skeldar is used for marine purposes.
In addition to the heavy fuel version of Skeldar, other functionality is currently being tested in order to verify Skeldar's performance. Flights are being conducted in Sweden and Germany. In parallel to this, further development of the ILS concept is underway as well as the functional and configurational development of ground stations.
The Mobile Ground Control Station, which can be part of a moving convoy, enables new convoy protection features where the Skeldar helicopter can be tethered to and automatically follow a moving convoy.
The new engine is manufactured by Hirth Motors and has been adapted for the Skeldar V-200. Skeldar has a 220 kg take-off weight and can carry several payload options up to 40 kg in weight. It has an endurance of 5-7 hours. Skeldar has been demonstrated and tested in several countries, both from land as well as from a ship’s deck.