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  • ​PARIS: T-Bird targets low-cost ISR, ground attack roles

​PARIS: T-Bird targets low-cost ISR, ground attack roles

Bulgaria's Light Armed Surveillance Engineering (LASA) is promoting a weaponised version of the Thrush 510G agricultural, aimed at customers who are fighting insurgencies and face other security issues.

LASA has received one international order for the T-Bird, the prototype of which is on display in the static park.

Project manager Orlin Trifonov declined to name the aircraft's first customer, but says its target market is the developing world.

To develop T-Bird, LASA makes a number of changes to a green Thrush 510G. It adds ballistics protection with armour around the cockpit and engine, as well as an aluminium mesh liner in the fuel tanks. This last modification reduces the risk of an explosion in the event the aircraft suffers gunfire damage.

LASA also adds a glass cockpit, with large tactical displays for the pilot and backseat systems operator.

The aircraft carries an Airborne Technologies TR-Pod under the fuselage, which can be stowed along the fuselage, and then extended down when in use.

The aircraft's weapons systems are of Russian origin, including a 23mm cannon pod and 50mm rocket pods identical to those found on helicopter gunships such as the MiL Mi-24 Hind. It can also can carry dumb bombs.

The T-Bird features a head-up display for the pilot for aiming munitions.

Trifinov says that maximum endurance is up to 14h in an ISR configuration.

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