Alenia Aeronautica has unveiled a scale model of a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned air vehicle it is proposing to meet future ground surveillance applications, including civil protection, weather, pollution and hydrological survey tasks. It could potentially also be evolved to satisfy paramilitary and military requirements.

Dubbed "Molynx", the company's preliminary MALE design has a 25m (82ft) wingspan, a 9m-long fuselage with T-tail surface controls and a maximum take-off weight of 3t, including an 800kg (1,760lb) mission payload. The aircraft's sensor suite - likely to comprise electro-optical/infrared, synthetic-aperture radar and hyperspectral sensors and line-of-sight and satellite communications equipment - will be housed in an enlarged nose section. The air vehicle will be powered using two wing-mounted 250hp heavy fuel engines driving pusher propellers, with the powerplants to be sourced from the automotive industry.

Alenia says its Molynx design should provide an operational endurance of 25-30h at altitudes up to 45,000ft and a cruising speed of 220kt (400km/h). The MALE system has a projected range of 2,000nm (3,700km), it adds.

Alenia Molynx Aeronautical
© Alenia Aeronautica 
The MALE unmanned air vehicle is planned for ground surveillance 

Source: Flight International