SOFINS 2023: Fly-R launches its new R2-120 Raijin loitering munition

At SOFINS 2023, a Special Forces seminar and exhibition that takes place in Bordeaux, France, the French Company Fly-R unveils a new generation of loitering ammunition called R2-120 Raijin based on a rhomboidal wing design.
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The R2-120 Raijin is a new generation of loitering munition based on the exclusive rhomboidal wing design. (Picture source Fly-R)

Fly-R is a company based on the island of La Réunion, a French overseas department located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. The company specializes in aerial photography and videography using drones. The company has also designed and developed a new generation of drones using a patented rhomboidal foldable wing design.

A rhomboidal wing is a member of the closed-wing family and is distinguished by its diamond shape on the three axes and the absence of a vertical control surface. When compared to a conventional cantilever wing with similar performance, this wing design offers several advantages including a wingspan reduced by approximately 50%.

The rhomboidal wing, belonging to the closed-wing family, is notable for its distinct diamond shape on all three axes and the lack of a vertical control surface. When compared to a traditional cantilever wing of similar performance, this innovative wing design boasts a multitude of advantages.

Firstly, the wingspan is nearly halved, resulting in a more compact design. Secondly, the aerodynamic drag is significantly reduced, which enhances the aircraft's efficiency. Thirdly, the structural mass of the wing is decreased by a third, leading to a lighter aircraft. Additionally, the rhomboidal wing supports a broad range of speed capabilities, making it versatile in different flight conditions. Furthermore, it maintains a high and relatively constant lift-to-drag ratio, improving its overall performance. Finally, the unique design of the rhomboidal wing allows for exceptional maneuverability, providing pilots with greater control and agility during flight.

The R2-120 RAIJIN is a loitering munition UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) equipped with a day/night camera for the detection, identification, and engagement of a target under the control of the Ground Control Station operator. The drone can be fitted equipped with an explosive payload of 1.5 kg maximum suitable for various types of targets such as vehicles with different armor protections.

The R2-120 RAIJIN boasts several cutting-edge features that make it stand out from its competitors. One of its key characteristics is the absence of a pilot in the loop, which simplifies its operation and minimizes the risks associated with human error. The drone can be deployed quickly by just two operators, making it an efficient choice for time-sensitive missions.

Fly R launches its new R2 120 Raijin loitering munition SOFINS 2023 925 002
The deployment of the drone is facilitated by its ability to be launched directly from its transport container also serving as a reusable launch tube and in which it is positioned with the wings folded along the fuselage. The wings deploy automatically when the aircraft leaves the tube. (Picture source Fly-R)

The R2-120 RAIJIN is designed for automatic take-off from a launching tube without the need for pyrotechnics. Its wings automatically unfold upon launch, streamlining the process and reducing the potential for complications. Once airborne, the drone follows a pre-programmed flight pattern, which can be modified in real time by operators using high-level commands from the ground control station (GCS).

A bi-directional data link transmits real-time video images from the drone to the GCS, providing operators with a clear view of the drone's surroundings. An optional IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) system can be incorporated to ensure secure and accurate identification during missions. The drone can carry various types of explosive military payloads, catering to different mission requirements.

Equipped with a night and day camera, the drone's mission sensor can effectively capture high-quality images in various lighting conditions. The precision final guidance to the target is achieved through optical and autonomous means after the target is designated by the GCS operator.

In addition to its optional belly landing capability, the R2-120 RAIJIN loitering ammunition is also designed for swarm operations, allowing multiple drones to work in unison to accomplish mission objectives more effectively.

The R2-120 RAIJIN loitering drone is a cutting-edge unmanned aerial vehicle that combines compactness and versatility. When folded, its dimensions are 250mm x 255mm x 1195mm (W x H x L), and it expands to 1215mm x 225mm x 1070mm (W x H x L) when unfolded. With a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 5 kg, the drone can accommodate up to 1.5 kg of payload, including mission and military equipment.

Powered by an electric motor, the R2-120 RAIJIN can operate at speeds ranging from 95 km/h to 200 km/h. It is launched from a portable tube launcher at a speed of 95 km/h. While in flight, the drone cruises at a speed of 110 km/h and can reach an attack dive speed of up to 270 km/h.

Although landing is optional, the R2-120 RAIJIN is designed to be versatile and adaptable to various mission requirements. It boasts an operating range of 50 km and can remain airborne for 45 minutes while cruising at 110 km/h. The drone can also reach a maximum altitude of 3,000 meters, ensuring coverage over a wide range of potential target areas.