Alpin is a long-range unmanned helicopter being developed jointly by UAVOS and TITRA, a Turkish engineering company.
The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is intended to support both civilian and security missions. It is also capable of delivering cargo to hard-to-reach areas without airfields.
The design of the Alpin unmanned helicopter is based on the manned Heli-Sport Italian CH7 helicopter. The unmanned system will be launched in the Turkish market.
Alpin unmanned helicopter development
UAVOS and TITRA signed an agreement for the joint project in 2019 which forms a part of the conversion programme of manned aircraft into UAV as well as to address the growing market of UAV cargo delivery.
The programme involves the conversion of the manned CH7 helicopter into UAV and also covers maintenance and training solutions.
The Alpin rotary-wing UAV performed its first flight in Turkey in December 2020. It is designed to meet the requirements of the Turkish rescue and security sectors.
Alpin UAV design and features
The Alpin UAV has a length of 7m, a width of 1.5m, a height of 2.35m and a rotor diameter of 6.28m. It has an empty weight of 340kg and can be easily transported in a vehicle.
The unmanned helicopter can survive severe weather conditions, carry multiple payloads, and transmit real-time information to the operators. It is equipped with a wideband satellite communication channel that supports operations in remote areas.
The fully redundant autopilot system aboard the aircraft ensures fully autonomous take-off and landing, while the UAV also features remote ground control network capability, autorotation landing capability and high efficiency flight control.
The unmanned helicopter can carry a maximum payload of 160kg including fuel. Its high-precision payloads include hyper-spectral, Lidar, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) cameras.
The rotary-wing UAV has a large fuel tank capacity which is capable of holding up to 180l of fuel. Horizontal flight fuel consumption of the vehicle is approximately 25l per hour.
The unmanned vehicle is fitted with UAVOS’ family of autopilot solutions, autopilot and servo drives. It is also fitted with a UAVOS parachute system. The pilot tube of the helicopter is equipped with an automatic heater which allows operations in icy and rainy conditions.
The Alpin unmanned helicopter has autorotation landing capability and can be installed with front-view radar. The parachute protects the vehicle during emergency recoveries. The software of the vehicle can be customised based on user requirements.
Applications of Alpin unmanned helicopter
The long-range of UAV supports multiple applications such as video surveillance and monitoring, autonomous cargo transportation and dropping of up to 160kg payload at specific location.
The unmanned aerial vehicle can be used for radio relay and agricultural operations using spraying equipment. It is also used as a flying R&D laboratory for meteorology, hydrology, earth monitoring and other missions.
The unmanned helicopter can be deployed in disaster relief missions. It is capable of operating in severe weather conditions during day and night.
Engine and performance
The Alpin unmanned helicopter is powered by Rotax 914 UL engine which can generates a power output of 115hp. It has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 500kg and rate of climb of 5m/s.
The maximum cruise speed of the aerial vehicle is 160km/h, while its never-exceed speed (VNE) is 209km/h.
The UAV can achieve maximum range of 840km and fly at altitudes of up to 5,000m. It offers a maximum endurance of seven hours, while the UAV can stay airborne for two hours when fully loaded.
The hovering in ground effect (IGE) and out of ground effect (OGE) ceilings of the helicopter are 3,500m and 2,500m, respectively.