At last week’s Farnborough International Air Show, Thales launched Fulmar X, a new concept that uses a small, flexible Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) to meet the needs of both military and civil customers in order to suite a wide range of surveillance missions (border surveillance, natural disasters, illegal traffic monitoring…). Fulmar X is a highly reliable solution that delivers exceptional endurance and high-quality aerial intelligence using a small, flexible air platform with low running costs.
The Fulmar X system's capabilities are unique, with an endurance over 8 hours and an operating range more than 80 km. Built entirely from carbon fibre composite, the UAV has a 3 m wingspan. It is launched using a catapult and recovered automatically with a net, which can be operated in very confined areas such as a ship or vehicle. The recovery system is available in a number of configurations for quick, easy deployment from a fixed location with no dedicated infrastructure.
The Fulmar X system includes a simple user interface so that personnel can focus on the mission itself. It is highly reliable and easy to maintain, requiring only simple technical support.
The UAV carries a combined EO/IR sensor so that operations can continue into the night. With its modular design, the Fulmar X system can readily be fitted with other equipment such as AIS automatic identification system or Mode 3/C transponder to meet the requirements of each customer and mission.
Fulmar X makes extensive use of off-the-shelf technology to benefit from the latest developments in sensors and engines, while complying with the highest standards of reliability and safety.
Deployed as a stand-alone system or fully integrated to wider surveillance systems, Fulmar X is designed to share its intelligence.
Easy to deploy and maintain, the Fulmar X delivers high performance for a wide range of missions, whilst maintaining low operating costs, making it a very cost-effective UAV solution.
“The Fulmar X system from Thales provides an excellent balance between performance and ease of operational deployment. Its modular architecture supports multiple configurations so the system is suitable for a broad range of surveillance missions yet remains extremely competitive in terms of operating costs,” said Pierre Eric Pommellet, Thales Executive Vice-President, Defence Mission Systems .
Thales recently announced a contract from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) to provide six maritime Fulmar systems for its new patrol craft. Designed to support the Malaysian authorities in the renewal and updating of its naval fleet, the system will be used on a broad range of missions, including counter-piracy, anti-smuggling operations, fisheries policing and border surveillance.
Thales has more than 40 years of experience in aerial surveillance systems and is the European leader in tactical Unmanned Air Systems, making the company the ideal partner for current and future surveillance drone programs.
Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace, Transport, Defence and Security markets. With 62,000 employees in 56 countries, Thales reported sales of €14 billion in 2015. With over 22,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design and deploy equipment, systems and services to meet the most complex security requirements. Its unique international footprint allows it to work closely with its customers all over the world.