Nostromo Defensa of Argentina has carried out the first flights of its new Cabure 2 mini unmanned air vehicle, an evolution of the existing Cabure 1 type.

The company has also completed initial installation of an Israel Aerospace Industries Tamam micro-POP stabilised electro-optic sensor aboard its manned Azor ultralight aircraft as part of plans to develop a high-end tactical UAV with endurance capabilities. The Azor test-flight programme is scheduled to start in early 2008.

The Cabure 2 debut flights were carried out in Argentina 30 October. The type has a glassfibre, Kevlar and carbonfibre airframe and a 2m (6ft) span. Nostromo Defensa says the structure has been designed to withstand high-impact loads during hard landings.

The wing incorporates flaps and ailerons to facilitate operations in complex weather environments as well as conduct very low speed loitering flights. The flaps deflect down to almost 90e_SDgr to facilitate deep stall landings.

Cabure 2

The UAV has a maximum take off weight of 3kg (6.6lb) and is hand launched.

It uses a German Mavionics MINC 2 autopilot and will carry fixed daylight and thermal imaging cameras as standard payload. Nostromo Defensa says the daylight camera will incorporate a 10x zoom capability and offer electronic image stabilisation, while the preferred thermal imaging unit will be a FLIR Systems unit.

The air vehicle carries an Avalon RF digital video datalink, with this allowing a 10km (5.4nm) radius of operations. The ground control station is based on a ruggedised General Dynamics laptop.

Cabure 1 is being used by an Argentinian government agency to support studies of how mini-UAVs could be used in law enforcement and homeland security roles.

The company is also continuing development of its Yagua small UAV with the first demonstrator to fly in early 2008. While supporting a similar airframe to the Cabure 2, Yagua will have a 2.8m span and is planned to be capable of 20h endurance. It will have a maximum take-off weight of 12kg, and will feature interchangeable electrical and internal combustion engine modules.