Germany's proposed medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned air vehicle requirement may be developed in parallel with NATO's emerging staff requirement for similar-class air vehicles.
The German military procurement office BWB said at ILA 2004 that the two requirements have extensive capability and mission overlaps. However, the office says it intends to proceed with a standalone acquisition to ensure Germany has its own independent reconnaissance capability available at all times.
The MALE system would be required to provide a 24h reconnaissance and surveillance capability in all weather conditions, and operate without restriction in non-segregated airspace. Current plans exclude using the UAV as a weapons platform.
The BWB says that it wants the MALE platform to have sufficient payload capacity and on-board power reserves to be able to simultaneously operate electro-optic, infrared and synthetic-aperture radar payloads and provide a fused data picture back to the ground station.
The sensor package would be able to detect, identify and track small targets such as a hostile infantry platoon, with this including detection and identification through forest canopy.
Ideally, the payload system would be modular to enable rapid reconfiguration of air vehicles for different missions. This will require payload developers to consider "plug and play" interfaces rather than proprietary ones, the agency says.
It adds that a modular payload capability is also likely to be included in the developing NATO requirement. However, those air vehicles will also be required to support electronic warfare and chemical, biological and radiological detection payloads.
Source: Flight International