The Sirtap Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is a tactical-level drone developed by Airbus of France originally for the nations of Colombia and Spain. The system is an all-weather solution and can be deployed at the military, civilian, and industry levels showcasing an inherently versatility-in-design. Its primary focus is that of Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) sorties with the flexibility to undertake other over-battlefield roles including SIGnals INTelligence (SIGINT), Electronics INTelligence (ELINT), COMmunications INTelligence (COMINT), border patrol / border enforcement, ground target acquisition / designation, Search and Rescue (SAR), general research / data collection, maritime enforcement, firefighting, and convoy support.
The Sirtap system sees a tubular fuselage with bulbous nose section. Under the nose is the camera fit containing the usual Electro-Optical / Infra-Red (EO/IR) arrangement and these are mounted to a traversing blister at the "chin" position of the fuselage. The payload capability reaches 150 kilograms and MTOW is 750 kg. Over the dorsal line of the fuselage is a sensor pod. The tail unit relies on outward-canted tailplanes in a V-style arrangement with a single ventral fin added under the empennage for additional control. The mainplanes are mid-mounted members along the side of the fuselage and seated amidships. The undercarriage is wheeled and fixed-in-flight and can provide a rough-field landing capability if needed. Propulsion power is through a conventional engine driving a three-bladed propeller unit at the rear of the fuselage.
The drone has a mission endurance window of 20 hours and can reach operating altitudes of 21,000 feet while operating in both day and night environments over land and sea. Range is enhanced through SATellite COMmunications (SATCOM) and handovers can be accomplished between two Ground Control Stations (GCSs). Transportation is aided by the removable mainplane members after which the unit can be stored in hard containers for transport. The unit is air-transportable in the belly of a CN-295 tactical transport or similar and two systems can be transported in this fashion.
The project appears to have been shelved for a time until the 2022 War in Ukraine sparked renewed interest in the tactical-level drone solution mainly due to the strong showing of the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 series.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
✓Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
✓Special-Mission: Search & Rescue (SAR)
Ability to locate and extract personnel from areas of potential harm or peril (i.e. downed airmen in the sea).
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.
Inherent ability of airframe to take considerable damage.
EXTENDED RANGE PERFORMANCE
Capability to travel considerable distances through onboard fuel stores.
Ability to operate over ocean in addition to surviving the special rigors of the maritime environment.
Design features ability to fly sans pilot, actions controlled onboard through programming and / or ground-based operator.
Design features autonomous flight operations made possible through onboard artificial intelligence or pre-programming.
Payload supports photographic equipment providing still and / or real-time image / video results.
1,323 lb (600 kg)
1,653 lb (750 kg)
+331 lb (+150 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Airbus Sirtap production variant)
monoplane / mid-mounted / straight
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represent the most popular mainplane arrangement.
Mainplanes are mounted along the midway point of the sides of the fuselage.
The planform involves use of basic, straight mainplane members.
(Structural descriptors pertain to the base Airbus Sirtap production variant)
1 x Conventionally-fueled engine driving three-bladed propeller unit at the rear of the fuselage in pusher arrangement.
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