Portugal has followed the global push to locally design, develop, and produce Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) of various shapes, sizes, and over-battlefield roles. The AR5 "Life Ray Evolution" from Tekever is one product to emerge from the nation and fulfills the "Medium-Altitude, Medium-Endurance" (MAME) role during a period when such vehicles remain in high demand. The AR5 is marketed with reduced operating costs, low risk, and excellent endurance when compared to typical industry leaders such as the General Atomics "Predator" line.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected the AR5 to be its primary European Maritime Patroller for the testing of such air vehicles in the maritime surveillance role (under "Project RAPSODY".
The Ar5 maintains a traditional aircraft arrangement despite its UAS categorization. There is a slender, streamlined fuselage containing the powerplant, fuel stores, avionics, sensors, and cameras. The wing mainplanes are situated along the sides of the fuselage in the usual way and are capped by upturned tips for additional control and fuel-efficiency. The tail unit is comprised of a twin-vertical rudder arrangement with individual horizontal planes attaching these members to the fuselage. An air intake is set over the aft-section of the aircraft to aspirate the engine within. The engine drives a three-bladed propeller unit in "pusher" fashion. The undercarriage is wheeled at all three members for ground-running and is fixed to the underside of the aircraft.
Dimensions of the aircraft include a length of 3 meters and a wingspan of 4.3 meters. Its cruising speed reaches 140 kmh and endurance is out to 12 hours.
Communications with ground operators is handled by a Beyond Line-Of-Sight (BLoS) satellite-based system (Line-of-Sight communications are also supported). Onboard the aircraft are real-time processing systems covering still imagery, moving video, and general sensor data collection. Internally, the aircraft can carry various payloads for a more modular, tactically-minded approach. The air system can a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of up to 500 kilograms. The AR5 is flexible enough to be launched from unprepared airfields for both take-off and landing actions. Both are furthermore handled through an automatic process reducing the workload of the operator.
Beyond its obvious military value, the AR5 is also useful in humanitarian assistance, Search-and-Rescue (SAR), and industry-minded roles such as environmental disasters (oil spills and the like). Border patrolling and maritime security are other strong suits where industry abuse can run rampant.