ECA Group upgrades its IT180 UAV for ISTAR missions
ECA Group brings its aerial drone, the IT180 UAV, to a new level with enhanced capabilities: agnostic and scalable payloads, enhanced vision, displayed data collection, real-time and georeferenced situational awareness.
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ECA Group's IT180 UAV (Picture source: Army Recognition)
Robust, reliable, resilient and performant, ECA Group's IT180 is a mini long-endurance electrical Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – UAV. The IT180 carries multiple payloads and performs various missions discreetly, with live and enhanced vision, superior tracking for Defence and Security missions. Its low radiated noise and radar cross section allow to perform covert operations, making it the ideal solution for numerous missions that require seeing without being seen: intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, reconnaissance, integration of more and heavier payloads.
Along with modem and data link integration that better protect the integrity of the information gathered, the upgrade of the IT180 allows for heavier and additional payloads:
• The upgraded IT180 UAV supports up to 5 kilos of heavier payloads and benefits from a higher/ variable or adjustable ground clearance thanks to additional sliders, to be able to carry bulkier payloads.
• The power supply dedicated to the payloads has also been increased from 40W to 100W allowing to embed more sophisticated sensors such as the optronic payload day/night or EO/IR integrating an IR cooled sensor with continuous zoom.
The UAV has been upgraded with more power capacity, new generation cameras and IA based operator assistance functions to further meet the armies’ expectations and operational requirements.
The operator can control and manage the IT180 at a distance of up to 50km, thanks to the video feedback display and cartography mission follow-up. The quality of the video images and other information received in real time is ensured by the sensors and the new digital data links providing a higher output or bandwidth. The increased range of 50 km is equally linked to the new data links using a specific waveform allowing for such an extension.
The Ground Control Station provides all essential data, with stable quality images and videos and make real-time target acquisition, detection and tracking easier and more efficient.
The new and more powerful embedded electronic card allows for video processing to use different compression formats to send through the data link. The UAV now also has the capability of using real-time Computer Vision or/and Artificial Intelligence algorithms including, but not limited to:
• Operator assistance during long survey (object recognition and classification);
• Operator navigation assistance in case of GPS denied.
• Georeferenced data collection
Equipped with a wide choice of dual sensors (EO/IR) gyro-stabilized cameras, the operator benefits from an accurate and precise situational awareness. The data collected is displayed in real-time and georeferenced on the screen of the Ground Control Station (GCS), from which the UAV IT180 is operated.
Operational by harsh weather conditions, the IT180 resists to wind gust up to 60km/h, rain, sand, extreme temperatures. French army Adjutant Gérald shared their experience with ECA GROUP’s IT180 “We are indeed impressed by the performance of the Drogen* in an environment as specific as the Sahel-Saharan Strip (BSS): we were particularly apprehensive about the wind, but above all about the high temperatures which could have limited our field of use of the UAV. This is not the case." (* Drogen: name given to ECA Group’s IT180 by French Army’s engineer (génie) Unit. Literally “DROne for the GENie”).
ECA Group’s IT180 development is based on the experience feedback from French Army’s operations in Afghanistan. During a reconnaissance mission, it allows engineers to raise any doubts about the presence of a threat on an axis or in an area while remaining at a distance. This handy, in 3 minutes ready to fly, and stealthy UAV facilitates the work of the Barkhane force units by increasing their capacity to master their environment.
From the mechanical and electronic parts, to the auto piloting system and the Ground Control Station, ECA Group entirely owns and controls the design and the manufacturing of its IT180.
Capitalizing on its leeway, ECA Group has developed 2 motorizations:
• The IT180-60 electrical version, allowing for 1-hour autonomy with a 5 kilos payloads.
• The IT180-120 gasoline version, allowing for 2-hours autonomy, with a 5 kilos payloads.
Thus, several armies benefit from ECA Group’s expertise that offer a modular and agonistic UAV solution designed for their operational requirements.
The UAV IT180-60 has optimal capacities for covert operations and to perform intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance operations (ISTAR), thanks to its electrical engine and low radar cross section preventing noise pollution.
The UAV IT180-120 is ideal for long-endurance and long range missions. It can also meet the needs for:
• Naval applications such as floating drifting mines detection and magnetic range measurements
• Search-and-rescue missions and can also be deployed in fire surveillance, as well as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) detection missions