The Pitagora UAV has an unorthodox design: a roughly triangular-shaped lifting body with canards and a wingspan of 2m whose centre section contains a ducted propulsor with two contra-rotating propellers.
The propulsor lies flush with the body to enable a vertical take-off, then swivels 90 degrees for horizontal flight. Pitagora can also take off horizontally with a run of just 10m, which allows endurance to jump from 2h to 9h. In both modes, the vehicle lands vertically.
Pitagora has been commissioned for a customer that Brindisi-based IAS declines to name. The initial Pitagora-1A flew for the first time last month. Initial tests are taking place in Italy, but restrictions on flying UAVs there above 1,500ft (500m) mean future testing will be conducted in Malta.
Pitagora-1A is powered by a Fuji Imvac BT-86 developing 7hp (5.3kW) with a maximum speed of 90kmh following a vertical take-off. Operational range is 150km with a maximum ceiling of 6,000m. Weight is 20kg, with a 4kg payload that can be customised to a client’s wishes. This is mounted on a stabilised gimbal platform and can include a Sony daylight camera or a FLIR/infrared camera.
The aircraft is mainly intended for civil applications but has obvious potential military uses. It can be flown down narrow streets and, with a 6m turn radius, negotiate tight corners, says IAS marketing communications manager Simona Spada. A larger -1B version of Pitagora is under development, which will have a 13kW engine, 7h endurance following vertical take-off and 20h following a short take-off.
IAS is also showing two other UAVs, Raffaello and Leonardo. The latter is a backpack-sized, hand-launched vehicle being co-developed with Optimum Solutions of San Diego, California. It has stabilised daylight and infrared cameras, with the vehicle able to be controlled from a ground station by an operator whose head movements can control the vehicle via special goggles.
Source: Flight Daily News