ATOL – the effort continues as the demands grow

Automatic take-off and landing (ATOL) will be standard on any future unmanned aerial system (UAS), but currently manufacturers are struggling to adapt it to all the types they are developing.

It’s a tricky feature, and it must work accurately in most conditions – but this is not so simple.

Israeli UAS manufacturers have installed ATOL on some of their products. However, some manufacturers are still working on finalising the feature and making it reliable under most conditions.

In some contracts ATOL is the most attractive selling point, and this is why the sellers are working hard to stand behind their promises.

When Aeronautics – the Israeli UAS company – signed a contract to supply its Aerostar UAS to Poland, that feature was part of the performance package.

The Aerostars were supplied without ATOL, but the client needed it. As a result, the effort to complete the system is in its peak.

Daily test flights with ATOL systems on-board are aimed to complete the process before the end of the year.

The Polish army purchased two Aerostar systems that were needed for operation by Polish units in Afghanistan.

Prior to the Aerostar contract, the Polish defence forces deployed the Aeronautics Orbiter UAS system.

The Aerostar is operated in Afghanistan as part of the Polish commitment to the  international force.

ATOL capability is very important in Afghanistan, and the Israeli company is making an accelerated effort to complete its development so that it can perform a final approach and land safely in windy conditions, and with ground effects in the operational area.

Avi Leumi, president of Aeronautics, said that ATOL will enable the UAS to take off and land with a pre-deployed infrastructure, like a beacon. It will use a differential global positioning system unit.

“The ATOL system also required changes in the airframe itself, as it will be exposed to more heavy landings,” he said.

The president revealed that the company is evaluating the development of an ATOL simulator that will decrease the number of actual flights needed to train crews in the operation of the new ATOL system.

This would be used especially in the transition phase between manual take-off and landing and the automated process.

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