Antares

The main activity of Albatross Aeronautics is the design, manufacturing and marketing of UAVs capable of being connected and interacting between them and operating in an fully autonomous way.

Thus, the autopilot, which will guide the UAV during the entire flight or mission to be performed, is fully integrated with the structure manufactured.

The manufacturing of the UAV Antares structure is made up with aeronautical materials and design concepts. Combined with a conceptually optimum aerodynamical design, its efficiency during flight is better than most of the UAVs with similar weight and dimensional features.

Several advanced composite materials such as Carbon / Glass fiber and Kevlar have been used to manufacture the structure of the UAV. The maintenance plays a key role in the design which, in combination with the proper structure offers a superior reliability for this airplane.

The design of the Aircraft has been done using specific design software and the process of design / stress has been fully supported using “concurrent engineering” updating and optimizing the design according to the results obtained in the calculations as the Project goes on.

Vista general del Antares
Antares overwiew.

All the structural calculations and weight balance have been done in order to optimize the flight of the mission. Thus, UAV structure is finely calculated to obtain the optimum weight / mechanical resistance ratio. The elasticity of the material and aerodynamics interact strongly in long, slender structures, and the results of both calculations are used to reciprocally correct the final design. Optimization is achieved through several algorithms, namely Hill Climbing and Newton-Raphson methods driven by a superior genetic algorithm in order to achieve the best combination between endurance, stability and robustness of the control.

For the design of the aircraft commercial and proprietary software are used, in particular aerodynamical modelling through Vortex Lattice Methods has been employed in order to calculate basic behavior of the aircraft, while details have been treated with classical Navier-Stokes methods (CFD).

ejemplo1 de resultados obtenidos mediante programa cálculo aerodinámico ejemplo2 de resultados obtenidos mediante programa cálculo aerodinámico
Image of the results obtained by CFD / VLM.

Furthermore, several aerodynamical tests have been performed in order to check the theoretical data already obtained. Results were obtained through a particular set-up able to independently measure forces and moments in XYZ axes, as result of many years of testing experience.

resultados1 resultados2
Examples of results obtained.

As explained above, one the most remarkable advantage of Antares is the autonomous flight endurance much higher than the rest of UAVs existing in the market with similar payload. The reason is that it has been designed based on aeronautical concepts rather than being a simple, off-the-self solution.

foto del primer prototipo foto del primer prototipo
First prototype pictures.
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Missions

Typically, Unmanned Aircrafts are focused to be used as multipurpose platform systems without any specific application. Therefore, their performances are poor in a range of missions and their functionality is limited.

Antares UAV is designed and calculated as an aircraft, following the basic requirements of the FAR/CS standards, in order to perform middle / high range missions, and to fly in the distance and under strong wind with reliability. As can be seen in the performances, the rate of climb makes possible to find and record data the same in the sea as in the mountains, using a wide speed range to allow the UAV operating in emergency and low-speed vigilance missions.

As certain applications require operation at low altitude and reduced speed, it is necessary to emphasize the altitude position sensors. An important aim of the Project when the UAV will be fully functional, is to ensure that the aircraft shall have the best altitude control among the other UAVs with similar features.

The most appropiate missions to perform are :

Rescue in open sea and mountain :
Tracking and finding of shipwreck and accident victims by means of visible spectrum and thermal cameras. The overpower of the Aircraft, maximum velocity, consolidated structure and great stability are features that will make the aircraft able to fly in very hard conditions comparing to other UAVs.
Control security in coasts and frontiers :
Finding, identification and tracking of elements.
Cartography and topography :
Measurement of large areas of land with a great precision (+-0,15 m) in latitude-longitude range, and altimetry of the terrain.
Fitosanitarias :
Tracking of plagues and fumigation in forest areas, risk and problems identification, measurement of chloropyll rate and so on.
Intensive security in open sea for protecting and defending ships :
As the current problem of the fleet in Indian Ocean is known, UAVs will be able to be equipped with the necessary systems for being used in open sea, taking off and landing on deck.
Fire and ecological vigilance and control :
Vigilance and control of fire at high/low level, in areas of complex geometry. Vigilance and control of toxic substances in open sea. Forest & furtive hunting control.
Civil defense:
Vigilance of roadmap and control of vehicles, observation in emergency situations and restricted areas protection.
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Planned actions

Performances are defined as the typical flight features of an Aircraft. They may change a lot depending of the configuration parameters of the aircraft: Weight and position of the equipment required, electrical consumption, flight altitude...

Antares UAV performances :

Cruise speed:
39,9 m/s
Stall speed:
22,4 m/s
Maximum Take-off weight:
18,3 Kg
Endurance:
20 h
Operative ceiling:
3404 m
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Equipment

Sensors

Since it is possible to change the configuration of the aircraft in accordance with the requirements of the customer and the mission to perform, several systems apart from the ones integrated in our own standard can be installed. Therefore, the customer can supply the equipment required for the missions if needed.

The typical equipment to be installed will be normal and infrarred photograph/video cameras and/or atmospheric sensors. The same the cameras as the lenses system to be used will depend on the mission to perform and the environment: high/low flight altitude, weather conditions, mission, etcetera. Furthermore, an UAV will be able to equip one or several cameras at the time as the requirement of the mission.

It is also possible to install atmospheric/contaminant measurement sensors to monitor the quality of the environment or any other parameter. These special sensors are able to support real time transmissions or flight data storage for being downloaded after the flight mission.

Catapult and Recovery system

Antares UAV will be supplied with three options depending on the range and requirements of the mission :

  • Equipped for taking-off and landing in/from ground, with an all-terrain landing gear for non asphalted tracks and capability of taking-off and landing in an fully autonomous way *.
  • Autonomous or assisted take-off from a catapult and assisted landing *.
  • Autonomous or assisted take-off from a catapult, and landing in ground *.
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Certification: Structure, calculation and material

The possibility to carry out any design in accordance with the qualification required by the customer or the authorities is supported by a high-qualified engineering team with wide experience in the aeronautic sector. This is the warranty of success we provide.

Although the normative is still in development, the design process followed will enable our aircrafts an easy certification as to operate in areas exclusively reserved for certificated, manned aircrafts. Even being something to come, the restrictions of flight altitude above terrain, and always out of the towns that typically apply to UAVs, will not be applicable anymore.

Antares is designed as an aircraft in order to show compliance with aeronautical requirements according to European and international regulations. Thus, Albatross won´t just be able to carry out the design and manufacturing of small UAVs for flying the whole overhead space, but it will be able to scale up and develop large scale manned or unmanned aircrafts with the experience achieved.

The previous experience of Albatross in Certification and aeronautical testing, composite/metallic stress computation, aerodynamics and fluid mechanics is the base to success in all the the afforementioned tasks.

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Autopilot

The autopilot developed for Antares Project is optimized to manage and guide the aircraft to provide an optimum performance for observation and vigilance missions.

Attitude and positioning are achieved by means of an IMU, MEMS, GPS and other sensors and technologies proprietary to Albaetross. Once the hybridization of these parameters is done and taking into account the parameters of the aircraft specification, the internal logical process, through control loops, sends the corresponding signals to the actuators.

Albatross Aeronautics team has several experts with a wide experience in control, hybridization processes, Kalman filtering, RTK-GPS, tight control loops, embedded architectures, realtime systems, and all the required disciplines to design a fully operational autopilot able to be configured in real time. In more advanced versions it will also have auto-landing capability. An heuristic algorithm will controll the autopilot in order to design and accomplish missions in a fully autonomous manner, working in the line of a “shut and forgive concept”.

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Catapult

A catapult has been designed with the mission of launching a canard UAV, though it is possible to adapt and adjust it for every kind of UAVs with a maximum weight of 25 kgs. The catapult has been designed to be easily transportable with a minimum “setting-up time”. It provides the possibility of taking off in all-terrain and to perform the mission as close as possible of working area in order to flexibilize the mission.

Landing would be done by means of a “recovery moving system” already designed by our company.

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Recovery System

Typically the best scenario to perform a mission is to have a small airport or landing area to operate UAVs. The recovery system is intended to be used in long range missions and in reduced landing areas such as ships and small mountain areas. Catapult and recovery system combined help to reduce fuel consumption in a sensible fraction.

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Wireless data transmission

We have designed a video and high range data transfer system with a transmission range of more than 50 km, having the capability of using our UAV platform as booster station and linking several platforms in order to make real time transmissions at the distance and amount of information desired.

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