The Andalusian aeronautical Company Elimco is focusing on one of its main strategic lines in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles, after successfully developing platforms and aircraft such as the Scan, viewer and x-vision models. This company recently participated at UNvEx 2010, the Spanish trade fair for the sector, with the aim of expanding its horizons and consolidating its national and international expansion in the field of UAS

There is no doubt in the mind of the Andalusian company group Elimco that the future of the aeronautical and aerospace sector is to be found in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). This company, which is an international leader in the field of engineering and systems integration in highly technological sectors of the aeronautical industry, is making a strong commitment to specialisation in the design, development, integration and manufacture of these types of aircraft, which offer high quality and features for an extensive range of civil and military applications. In recent months Elimco has completed various Micro, Mini and Tactical UAV projects, with the highlights being its fully operational Scan, Viewer and X-Vision platforms.

This has led to its consideration as the leading Andalusian company for this type of technology. The projects have involved the development of totally new systems equipped with the latest on-board technology in the field of autonomous navigation and sensors. They have a wide variety of applications in different sectors including defence (surveillance, observation, communication relays, designation of targets, etc) security (coastal and border surveillance, maritime rescue, crowd control, traffic control, intelligence, etc) and the civil arena (monitoring of forest fires and environmental catastrophes, atmospheric studies, agriculture, geology, studies of high-voltage lines, etc). The company highlighted that the projects they have developed offer their customers fully integrated systems which include aircraft, ground stations and the software necessary for their functioning.

The cutting-edge equipment designed and integrated in these systems by the Company includes automatic pilots with satellite navigation, Inertial Measurement Units (IMU), complete portable ground control stations, visible and infrared imaging, long-range radio links and automatic antenna monitoring systems.

Mini-UAVs

One of the areas in which Elimco works is the sector of mini-UAVs, with the highlights being its development of the Scan and Viewer models. The first of these, the Scan, is a very light and easily transportable UAS designed for all types of surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It consists of a device weighing only 5.5 kg, with a wingspan of 2.5 metres and a payload of up to 1.5 kg. It is powered by a 650 W electric motor with a flying time of up to an hour and a half due to its lithium polymer batteries and a range of up to 20 kilometres. It can fly by day and by night, and its low noise levels make it difficult to detect. It may be launched manually or with a small catapult and it can be retrieved anywhere due to its low approach velocity.

The Viewer, meanwhile, is the largest electric UAV in the range with a wingspan of nearly 5 metres and a maximum take-off weight of 14 kg. It can carry a payload of up to 3 kg and has a flying time of 90 minutes, or it can alternately carry solely an observation payload during three hours of continuous flight. It is capable of autonomous take-off using a portable launcher from any type of terrain, and is retrieved by way of a parachute in the event of emergency. It has a greater range than the Scan, operating at a distance of up to 45 kilometres. Both the Scan and the Viewer have autopilots with the latest miniature inertial stabilisation systems and navigation using DGPS (Differential GPS), which enables pinpointing of its position within three centimetres and fully autonomous landing at a specific point. Both systems can carry gyrostabilised platforms with visible or infrared cameras. In the case of the Viewer, due to its size this is complemented with an extensive range of sensors, including multispectral, hyperspectral, high-resolution photographic and mini-SAR sensors and even autonomous computers.

Tactical UAVs

In the field of tactical systems Elimco has the X-Vision, a light, transportable device with a maximum weight of up to 50 kg and a payload of between 5 and 10 kg. With a wingspan of 3.6 metres, this UAV has a flying time of three to four hours and a range of 60 kilometres, as a consequence of its 150cc, 16 HP two-cylinder combustion engine with up to 12 litres of fuel. Another of its advantages is that it can reach altitudes of up to 3,500 metres, with speeds of between 60 and 120 km/h. It also has tricycle landing gear which enables automatic takeoff and landing in less than 200 metres (or recovery by way of a parachute in the event of emergency).

The stabilisation system, the automatic pilot and the telemetry is identical to and compatible with all Elimco’s UAV models, along with the GCS and the control software. In addition, the X-Vision can carry an extensive range of payloads in its two-axis gyrostabilised turret, including visible, high definition, infrared and photographic cameras. It can also optionally incorporate A, C and S mode transponders and a laser altimeter for precision landings.

 

The company highlighted that the projects they have developed offer their customers fully integrated systems which include aircraft, ground stations and the software necessary for their functioning

 

The development of these UAS and the improvements achieved through the use of these systems is placing Elimco in a privileged position in light of the new and increasing demand for these aircraft for defence, security and civil applications, and which is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years in the aeronautical sector. A consideration of some of the customers and actual uses of the models developed by this Andalusian firm demonstrates that they are a real alternative to other more costly manners of operating.

The Scan, for example, has already been presented to the Spanish Armed Forces, and the Viewer and X-Vision models already have various clients in the civil market. These aircraft have also already been released on the Latin American market in countries such as Brazil and Colombia, where they have been well received.

National expansion

With the aim of expanding its horizons and consolidating its national and international expansion in this field, Elimco participated at the first edition of UNVEX 2010 from 2 to 4 March in Madrid, the national trade fair for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles with a focus on the national aeronautical market. This event has established itself as a meeting point for Spanish companies and entities to exchange information and discuss new UAS.

Elimco attended the Fair with a stand measuring 24 square metres which successfully presented its latest developments in the field of UAVs, the Viewer, the Scan and the X-Vision, arousing major interest among firms and visitors to the Fair. Among the distinguished guests visiting the company's stand was the State Secretary of Defence, Constantino Méndez, the State Secretary of Security, Antonio Camacho, and the Chief of Staff of the Spanish Air Force, José Jiménez Ruiz. The objective sought by Elimco, which was the only firm from the Andalusian aeronautical sector present at the fair, is to continue to participate at fairs and events related with the UAS sector to further promote its strategy in this market and achieve new alliances and contracts with other companies which will give rise to the development of new projects. In fact, this Andalusian company also attended to FIDAE, The International Air and Space Fair of Chile, with its own stand in the Spanish Pavillion with other 13 Spanish firms and presented the last developments in the field of UAVS.

Other systems

Continuing with its line of fostering R+D and diversification of services, the company is currently in the midst of developing new microUAVs which will enable it to expand the range of solutions adapted to the conditioning factors of each mission. In addition, Elimco distributes Unmanned Aerial Target (UAT) systems on the international market with the latest features, low cost and ease of operation, for use in target practice, tests and calibration of an extensive range of military weapons systems, namely the SCRAB and SCRAB II systems by the Spanish Company SCR.

Elimco is also cooperating extensively with Latin American countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Colombia on specific programmes which include technological development and transfer of knowledge in this field, and it is one of the most active Spanish firms in the UAV sector in this zone. With the efforts made by this Andalusian firm in the field of UAS, together with the experience it has gained in the technological sectors in which it works, Elimco is set to have an excellent future in this area, enabling it to offer global made-to-measure solutions for clients and delivering complete systems ready for use.