Cassidian’s research programme Sagitta has entered integration phase following the core elements’ development and testing at the company’s Military Air Systems Center in Manching near Munich, Germany.

The company, together with universities and research institutes, is performing basic research to develop future unmanned aerial systems’ (UAS) technologies as part of the Sagitta project.

The Open Innovation Programme Sagitta also focuses on the construction of a flight demonstrator to verify the validity and feasibility of the theoretical research results.

Cassidian Research & Technology head Aimo Buelte said Sagitta is a perfect example of a successful cooperation between industry, research institutes and universities in the field of high technology and future-oriented research.

"Our goal with Sagitta is to raise our knowledge of unmanned aerial systems to the next level, because UAS are the future of aviation," Buelte said.

The integration phase involves the assembly of a one quarter-scale demonstrator of the 12m (39ft) wingspan design following successful wind tunnel tests.

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"Sagitta also focuses on the construction of a flight demonstrator to verify the validity and feasibility of the theoretical research results."

The company has begun the production of the first parts of the extremely light-weight carbon fibre structure after two years of intense design work.

To begin individual avionic components assembly and to perform the required hardware-in-the-loop simulations, a dedicated system integration rig has been setup.

The integration is planned to be finalised by the end of 2014 while the Sagitta demonstrator is scheduled for first flights in 2015.

The research focuses on seven areas of UAS development, namely preliminary aircraft design, aerodynamics, flight control systems, communications and data processing, vision-based flight control and air-to-air refuelling, materials and structure, autonomous flight and mission control, simulation and systems integration.

Image: Exploring future UAS technologies: Cassidian’s "Sagitta" research project. Photo: courtesy of Cassidian.

Defence Technology