Andrzej Jeziorski/WARSAW

WSK PZL-MIELEC has selected, German piston-engine manufacturer Gebler-Hirthmotoren and French gas turbine Company Microturbo, to supply the power plants for its Vector unmanned air vehicle (UAV).

According to the Polish manufacturer's UAV department manager Andrzej Podsadowski, the company proposes to power the piston-prop variant of the UAV with a Hirth F 30 four-cylinder engine, rated at 48.5kW (65hp), driving a six-blade propeller.

The Microturbo variant is to have, a TRS 18 single-shaft turbojet power plant.

Current performance estimates for the vehicle are based on these power plants, says Podsadowski, although alternatives power plants are not ruled out, should customers require them.

The piston-engine version is expected to fly at over 160kt (300km/h), with a mission duration of 8-9h. The turbojet variant should be capable of Mach 0.75, with an endurance of up to 11/2h. Both versions are expected to carry payloads of up to 50kg.

Podsadowski says that the company is on the point of launching the programme and will not wait for orders or funding from the Polish armed forces to proceed with a prototype, as it expects the Vector's appeal to be broader than the domestic market.

He adds that there is potential for such a device in France, which could provide reconnaissance equipment and avionics for the programme.

Mielec does not specify which French companies would be involved, but talks are known to have been held with SAGEM, which is already supplying an avionics package for Mielec's I-22 Iryda jet trainer.

The Polish army has expressed a requirement for such a device, which would be met by the piston-engine version of the Vector, says Podsadowski.

Source: Flight International