Jet-Powered SAGITTA Flies

img_4-1_43.jpg
The SAGITTA demonstrator has been produced to acquire information on new technologies that could go into future unmanned systems.
Airbus

Airbus’ SAGITTA jet-powered unmanned air vehicle technology demonstrator recently flew autonomously for the first time from Overberg, South Africa. The flight marked the completion of an initial test phase, which also included ground trials, and the demonstrator will now test new structural components into which active functional elements, such as adjustable flaps, are integrated.

The SAGITTA initiative, launched in 2010, involves Airbus working with the Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR or German Aerospace Centre) and several technical universities in Germany to use approaches developed in academic and industrial research to acquire information on new technologies that could go into future unmanned systems.

SAGITTA is made entirely from carbon fibre composites, measures 3 x 3m (9.8 x 9.8ft), is powered by two jet turbines each rated at 0.3kN (67lb) and has a 150kg (330lb) maximum take-off weight. Apart from the brakes, the aircraft is controlled by electromechanical actuators rather than hydraulic components. The DLR contributed most of the critical flight systems, including the retractable landing gear, the electrical power supply and cables, control surface actuators and the fuel system. Mark Broadbent