As the German Army recently announced, a team of instructors has been deployed to Afghanistan to instruct German soldiers in the operation of a new, small tactical reconnaissance unmanned air system (UAS).
The Mikado AR 100 B, built by German manufacturer AirRobot GmbH & Co. KG, is intended to provide additional situational awareness to troops in northern Afghanistan.
The vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) system is powered by four rotors and equipped with a video sensor which transmits collected data in near real-time.
The images are processed by a ground station and can be stored for detailed analysis at a later time.
With a maximum payload of approximately 200g, the system can be equipped with different cameras, including daylight, twilight or infrared cameras, and supports troops in an effective radius of 1,000 metres during a maximum flight period of 20 minutes.
“Finally, we have something that enables us to look behind obstacles without having to expose our own forces to direct threats,” a soldier explained after a training course on the new system.
The portable Mikado UAS, with a span of only 1 metre, will help troops on patrol to detect and identify suspected persons, weapon systems and vehicles from a safe position, providing the soldiers with an improved situational awareness and reducing the risk of undesired surprises before they approach an area.
AirRobot provides the German Army with six of these small VTOL systems, as well as with two rechargeable batteries and a battery charger.
Providing power to the system’s four rotors and the video camera, the batteries allow for an operational range of 500 metres with analogue video operation and 1,000 metres with a digital video operation.
In case of a technical failure or low battery power, Mikado automatically returns to the ground station or a pre-determined point and autonomously carries out an emergency landing.