16 January 2012
• The UAV Fulmar was the only fully Spanish model presented to the European agency for border control purposes.
• It is fitted with surveillance systems that supply real-time images and video and other types of information for the efficient control of maritime areas.
Thales and Aerovisión have given a real flight demonstration of the UAV Fulmar (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) for the European Agency Frontex, the organism in charge of coordinating the border control operations of the European Union member states.
Fulmar is a wholly Spanish project that is a global solution that uses the Maritime Surveillance Systems of ThalesGroup. These systems supply images and video in real time and integrate the information in a security system, as is the case with border control. Such systems facilitate surveillance and control of maritime and border traffic and can provide inestimable support to rescue operations.
The UAV Fulmar is a small-size model (3.1 metres) weighing only 19 kilos that can fly at a height of 3,000 metres and achieve 150 kilometres per hour, with an 8-hour flight range that would allow it to fly up to 800 kilometres without having to refuel.
The demonstration for border authorities organised by Frontexwas held at the Aktio Air Base in the Greek locality of Preveza. For three days, several international UAV manufacturers performed test flights patrolling the west coast of Greece, with Fulmar being the only Spanish product to demonstrate its capacities in a market dominated by unmanned aerial vehicles from the United States and Israel.
The demonstration confirmed the ease of installation and flying of the UAV Fulmar, as it does not require a runway for takeoff and landing given that it is launched from a catapult and is recovered by means of an impact-absorbing net. Both elements are simple to install in a short time and in different places. This facilitates the assembly and handling of the system and differentiates it from other models on the market. A demonstration of the UAV Fulmar flight can be viewed here (video).
Integration with maritime surveillance systems
In the demonstration for border authorities organised by Frontex, the UAV Fulmar flew for two hours, detecting the information sent in from the different points established for the flight and sending images and video in real time that were viewed by the attendants at the ground base. The Fulmar thus displayed its capacity to integrate with maritime surveillance systems such as radars, a crucial aspect in this type of unmanned aerial surveillance system.
At this event Thales and Aerovisión have demonstrated that the Fulmar is a competitive solution that can be adapted to different needs and can integrate with other systems to provide a global solution. Fulmar is currently operative in Malaysia, where it performs border surveillance tasks in the Strait of Malacca.
Thales is at the forefront of innovation in Systems for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAS) and is a leader and strategic partner in important international programmes in avionics, sensors and mission systems for UAS.