Fulmar X Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
Fulmar X is a new mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by Thales Group to support the surveillance mission requirements of military and civil operators.
The UAV was launched during the 2016 Farnborough Airshow held in July 2016. Thales received a contract from the Spanish Ministry of Defence (MoD) for Fulmar mini UAVs in October 2017.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) placed a contract for six UAVs to equip six new-generation patrol craft (NGPC) in April 2016. Thales delivered a Fulmar X mini-UAV to the shipbuilder for integration into NGPC in December 2016.
The primary missions of Fulmar X UAV include border surveillance, intelligence, target acquisition, emergency and natural disasters response, monitoring of illegal traffic and critical infrastructure security.
Fulmar X design and features
The Fulmar X mini-UAV features a fixed-wing structure made of carbon fibre composites. The platform offers reduced noise footprint and low operating cost. The aircraft is designed to operate in extreme and challenging environments.
The multi-role UAV is suitable for a range of applications and can be deployed as a stand-alone system or fully integrated into other surveillance systems. The Fulmar X system is composed of two UAVs, launch and recovery equipment and a control station. It can be mobilised in a medium-sized commercial van.
The UAV measures 1.2m-long and 0.5m-high, and has a wingspan of 3m and maximum take-off weight of 19kg.
The unmanned aircraft can be integrated with a range of sensors such as multispectral cameras and a light detection and ranging (LIDAR) system. The sensors are housed in a retractable gyro-stabilised gimbal. The payload carrying capacity of the Fulmar X is 8kg.
“The UAV was launched during the 2016 Farnborough Airshow held in July 2016.”
The UAV also accommodates a combined electro-optical / infrared (EO / IR) sensor for operations at night. It can be installed with automatic identification system (AIS) or Mode 3/C transponder.
The state-of-the-art sensors aboard the UAV ensure the gathering of high-quality intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data for the operator. The UAV offers a real-time video transmission range of up to 90km.
Launch and recovery of Fulmar X mini-UAV
The launch and recovery of the UAV is performed using a catapult take-off and net recovery system respectively. The small logistic footprint enables launch and recovery from confined spaces and moving platforms such as vessels.
The recovery system is being offered in numerous configurations according to the customer requirements. The deployment requires less than 30 minutes for three personnel.
Ground control system
The Fulmar X mini-UAV is controlled by a highly mobile ground control station (GCS). It features dual display units, keyboard and controls. The system allows the crew to conduct advanced mission planning, target geo-tracking and auto tracking, as well as command and control of the UAV and payloads in real time. The GCS can be integrated with broader ISR systems.
The ruggedised mobile control station enables the UAV system’s integration into multiple platforms, including small vehicles and vessels. The easy-to-operate station significantly reduces the time required for training.
Fulmar X performance
The UAV has a cruising speed of 100km/h and can attain a maximum speed of 150km/h. It can fly at a speed of 70km/h in wind conditions. The maximum operational altitude of the UAV is 3,000m.
The Fulmar X has a maximum endurance of up to 12 hours and can attain a maximum range of 800km without refuelling.
The Global Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Market 2011-2021
This project forms part of our recent analysis and forecasts of the global unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) market available from our business information platform Strategic Defence Intelligence. For more information, go to http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/fulmar-x-unmanned-aerial-vehicle-uav/.