They keep flying in: one could have expected that the development of new drones and their related systems and payloads would have reached a point at which their manufacturers or users would turn towards upgrades, but the truth is that new models keep turning up at an amazing rate.

Author:Biass, Eric H.
Position:Drone Update

Quite naturally a number of manufacturers, particularly those from Israel, waited for the Paris Air Show to lift the veil off their latest drones--which incidentally allowed the event to showcase new aircraft--but other companies did announce their new projects before the show.

One such manufacturer was Ruag with the Super Ranger the existence of which was revealed in May (the Paris Air Show taking place in the second half of June). As the name tends to suggest, the Super Ranger is intended to provide a capability that is superior to the existing Ranger, but without stepping too far into male territory; as the drone's cost and logistics would imply. Seen here in our title photo, its twin boom design and general configuration could mislead one into believing that it is a somewhat jazzed-up Ranger. It in fact is an entirely new design. To provide a scale, the Ranger is a 274-kg aircraft, whereas the Super Ranger will be a 500-kg affair, while wingspan will grow from 5.70 metres to virtually ten. However, the new craft retains some of the features of the Ranger; such as catapult launch capability and skid landing gear to enable it to land on rough terrain, although a standard retractable landing gear can be fitted for more conventional runway operation.

The aircraft will be compatible with the Opats electro-optical landing system although, should a customer require, Ruag has the capability to adapt it for microwave landing systems. On the compatibility theme, the latest types of Ranger ground control systems (such as the ones used by Finland) will be able to monitor the new bird with a simple software upgrade. Perhaps more importantly, says Ruag, the Super Ranger is the first such system to have been developed around the new international UAV Systems Airworthiness Requirements (Usar).

As for the driving factor behind this development, Ruag very simply told the author that the company had lately responded to a number of requests for information that very clearly indicated that there was the need for more capability, particularly in terms of endurance, and that newer types of payload gave the possibility to carry out missions from higher altitudes.

Entirely made of carbon and glass-fibre composites, the Super Ranger will be powered by a super-quiet 28-kW fiat-four engine. Although the exact engine type has not yet been defined, Ruag mentioned that the choice has boiled down to two manufacturers.

The Super Ranger also features de-icing and...

To continue reading