This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

Negotiations are under way concerning the potential procurement of tactical VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) UAV systems, according to an announcement by the Polish Armament Inspectorate.  

The technical requirements suggest that it is the Polish Navy, that is going to be the main user of the new platforms. The systems to be procured, also known under the name of “Albatros”, are expected to be capable of carrying armament, and to operate at night and during the day, and in adverse weather conditions.

The goal of the negotiations is to receive the knowledge and advice required, pertaining to preparation of the technical specification for the project.

According to Defence24, the equipment would be acquired between 2019-2020.

The tactical UAV will reportedly have a maximum take off weight equal to 200 kg, it should also be capable of carrying out long distance sorties and reaching high altitudes. Moreover, it is required that the UAV is able to operate both from the land bases, as well as from the Polish Navy Vessels, at night and during the day. The new UAVs are expected to be adapted for being transported in standard containers, both via the sea routes, as well as by the C-295M or C-130E Hercules transport aircraft.

The UAV control process is to be carried out from a container-based command and control station. It is required that the UAV is controlled from the ship, and that data transmission options are available, with an optional arrangement in which the data is being relayed to other units, with the use of the standard communication systems utilized by the Polish Navy.

The UAV itself should be capable of both autonomous, as well as manually, remotely controlled flights, it should also be in possession of a capacity of landing on vessels within as wide spectrum of weather conditions as possible.

The navigation and positioning suite should enable the UAV to automatically return to the vessel, should the communication link be lost. The system embedded within the platform is also to make it possible to find a lost UAV. Ability to avoid collisions with obstacles, and amphibious capacity, should a water landing be the case, have also been defined as some of the highly desirable features.

It is also required that the UAV uses the Standard 5 IFF suite, along with a transponder package making it possible to operate the helicopter in the civil airspace.

The “Albatros” UAV shall be fitted with a SAR radar which would make it possible to detect and track land- and sea-based objects. The radar should be complemented with a daytime/nighttime optronic system and a laser target designator.