Drone manufacturer Brazil Aircraft has made a discrete debut at the Latin American Aerospace and Defence exhibition, displaying great ambitions for the remote controlled target aircraft business.
Starting in 1997, the company began manufacturing flying targets for the Army for use with the Igla man-portable air defence system and for the Navy with the MBDA Mistral.
In August 2015 the Brazilian Army’s new RBS 70 was fired at night for the first time against the company’s targets. The company expects to add the Air Force soon to its client roster. Their compact booth at LAAD being overwhelmed by the large, 3.8m-wingspan Falco 170 and the 2m wingspan of the Delta Eclipse models.
Used by both the Brazilian Army and Navy the low-cost Falco 170 target flies up to 240km/h and up to 1100m (3,300ft).
Available in two models, the Delta Eclipse 55 is intended as a target tug dragging fabric drogue for target practice by anti-air gun crews. The Delta Eclipse 30 is in comparison intended as a direct fire target, both being are highly maneuverable. The maximum speed is 200 km/h and altitude reaches 1,100 meters (3,300ft.)
The targets are launched by catapult and recovered — if not destroyed — using a parachute. They additionally can be fitted with strobe lights, radar enhancements, trackers and/or flaresas optional payloads. From 2015 the company has sold to the Brazilian Army a total of 10 Falco 170 and 18 Delta targets.
The most surprising derivative exhibited at LAAD 2017 is certainly the larger and lighter “Delta Jet” where a small kerosene burning turbine is used in place of the original piston engine of the basic target.
This is a concept originated by the Brazilian Army’s 3rd anti-air artillery Group and built by Brazil Aircraft. The single prototype is currently being evaluated by the Brazilian Army. In flight the Chinese-built 80N unencapsulated turbine acts as both as the power plant and heat source in order to best attract heat-seeking missiles. The Delta jet weighs only 3kg and has a 26min maximum flight time. It flies between 40 and 340 km/h having an operational ceiling of 2,000m (6,000ft).
A separate family of electric powered multicopter urban warfare short range observation drones complements the company’s main target offerings.
Chief executive Anderson Beccari has said that their ambition participating in this show is to try help jumpstart potential exports. “We have no need for foreign technology in order to develop our products” and he concluded: “For this reason, we can export our products to anyone, making a profit at final prices that are half that of our foreign competitors”.
The company is currently developing its first ISR-mission fixed wing drone with a total takeoff weight of 13kg for a mission payload of 0.8kg.