The "Vector" is a reconnaissance-minded Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) designed, developed, and manufactured by Quantum Systems GmbH of Germany. This drone aircraft is a versatile solution, made man-portable by design, and of completely electric propulsion resulting in a flexible, tactical-level solution operating with reduced noise signatures over range. This makes it suitable for those requirements typically found in Search and Rescue (SAR), anti-poaching, fire-fighting, general surveillance, traffic research, and drug / law / maritime / border enforcement initiatives.
The Vector is in the ISR (Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance) class of unmanned aircraft and thus suitable for many non-combat roles involving airborne reconnaissance - across military, research, industry, and civilian sectors. The system can remain airborne for up to 120 minutes and range out to over 15 kilometers (though out to over 25km with sector antennas in place).
The key quality of the Vector is its ability to achieve vertical flight by way of lift propellers positioned at its wings. Once airborne, the system can then seamlessly transition to horizontal flight by these same lift propeller units which now transform into puller props (coupled to a cruise propeller at the tail). Such flexibility in design allows the aircraft to operate where most fixed-wing drones of same size and class cannot.
In its base form, the drone's arrangement is relatively conventional: The fuselage takes on a "tear-drop" shape of sorts with a bulged forward section and slim stem making up the tail unit / empennage. The forward housing is home to the optics set, situated in a traversing turret / blister unit, as well as sensors, powerpack, and avionics. The mainplanes are mid-mounted, straight appendages with each member mounting an electric motor used to drive a positional rotor unit used to achieve both horizontal and vertical flight. At the rear of the aircraft is a horizontal plane set close to the midway point of the stem's length and a single vertical fin makes up the tailplane. At the absolute top of the tailplane is mounted a two-bladed "puller" rotor to aid in cruising. When at rest, the airframe is suspended by a pair of short, reinforced struts under the forward mass, further simplifying the overall make-up of this aircraft.
Structurally, the aircraft has a wingspan of 9.2 feet and a length of 5.34 feet. Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) reaches 16.3lb and the unit can cruise at speeds of 40 knots.
When in transit, the Vector breaks down into six major components made up of the fuselage, tail unit, inboard mainplane (x2), and outboard mainplane (x2). The gimbal (or chin blister) unit is wholly detachable under the nose. 4 x Redundant lithium ion batteries power the complete unit and are tied to a cooling system for optimal operation in most any environment. Stubby antenna protrusions are apparent under the aft section of the belly and feature encrypted communications.
Sensor fits for the Vector include the "Raptor" and HD40-LV mounts: the former offers 1280x720 resolution with 40x optical and 2x zoom functions and its Field-of-View (FoV) reaches 60-degrees with pitch is equal to -45 / +80 degrees and yaw limited to -180 / +180 degrees. The HD40-LV optics set has a 720p camera with 10x optical zoom, LWIR 640x480 camera with 34mm lens, and FoV spanning 54 to 4.9 degrees. A laser illuminator is standard and the gimbal unit is given a full 360-degree of traversal.
To further enhance this system's modularity, the Vector can have its mainplanes removed and replaced by dedicated lift props to behave exclusively like a helicopter, becoming a "tri-copter" unit where more enhanced VTOL capabilities are needed. In effect, this allows the single unit to cover two over-battlefield requirements, going from fixed-wing to rotary-wing in minutes. This results in the Vector being billed by the company as a "2in1" unmanned aircraft.
The complete unit transports (when broken down) in a handy, hardened case ready-to-assembly and operate.
August 2022 - Ukraine has ordered an undisclosed number of Vector UAVs from Quantum Systems GmbH.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓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).
✓Maritime / Navy
Land-based or shipborne capability for operating over-water in various maritime-related roles while supported by allied naval surface elements.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Serving Special Forces / Special Operations elements and missions.
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.
VERTICAL TAKE-OFF / LANDING (VTOL)
Series has a tactical capability to take-off and / or land vertically, a quality commonly associated with helicopters.
Design utilizes an all-electric powerplant for drive power.
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.
5.3 ft (1.63 m)
9.2 ft (2.80 m)
15 lb (7 kg)
18 lb (8 kg)
+2 lb (+1 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Quantum Systems Vector 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 Quantum Systems Vector production variant)
1 x Battery-powered electric propulsion system driving 2 x Lift-pull rotors at the mainplanes and 1 x Puller / cruise rotor at the vertical tailplane.
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