Tactical Air Vehicle (TAV) is a light strike aircraft being designed and manufactured by Icarus Aerospace, a Canadian manufacturer of clean-sheet, mission-specific aeronautical products.
The armed overwatch aircraft can also be transformed into a high-altitude long-endurance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform. It is expected to demonstrate 90% of the mission capability of modern fighter, 15% of the cost of modern combat jet and 100% flexibility, while operating in harsh conditions.
The company unveiled the optionally piloted multi-role TAV in August 2020. It will become a force multiplier for security and armed forces globally.
In September 2020, Icarus Aerospace partnered with CAE Defence & Security for the integration of MAD-XR magnetic anomaly detection sensor in a towed configuration.
TAV’s clean-sheet design resembles the North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco twin-turboprop light-attack and observation aircraft.
Icarus Aerospace TAV variants
TAV is the first member in the family which also includes WASP and BRANTA versions. WASP is a militarised-armed version intended for use in close-air support (CAS), maritime & coastal patrol and anti-submarine warfare, and surveillance missions.
BRANTA is a long-endurance, high-altitude optionally-piloted/unmanned combat air vehicle (OPV/UCAV).
Design and features of WASP
WASP aircraft will have a length of 15.85m and wingspan of 15.5m. The maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of the aircraft will be 9,525kg (21,000lb). The chin and belly of the aircraft will be mounted with up to two retractable FLIR turrets.
The platform will be fully network-centric and SWARM capable. It will have the capacity to accommodate up to two crew members in a tandem layout. The cockpit will be installed with latest avionics configuration including sensor fusion and network centric capabilities.
The aircraft will be integrated with a MAD-XR highly-sensitive magnetometer which is designed to detect changes in the earth’s magnetic field. The MAD-XR system will provide a cost-effective solution for submarine tracking and detection.
The aircraft can operate in different environments such as day, night, VMC/IMC, all-weather, flight into known icing (FIKI), gravel and unprepared rough runways, and austere conditions.
The optional equipment and systems such as auxiliary power unit and a 360° active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar can also be installed aboard the aircraft.
Icarus Aerospace TAV will feature up to 11 external hard points for mounting a range of weaponry. It will have the capacity to carry maximum weapons payload of up to 3,629kg (8,000lb).
The aircraft can also be equipped with different armaments including laser guided bombs and rockets, GPS guided munition, up to two torpedoes, sonobuoys, anti-ship rockets, air-to-air infrared (IR) missiles as well as conventional unguided bombs and rockets.
It can be fitted with one forward firing fixed cannon and one belly mounted cannon of up to 30mm according to customer’s choice.
Icarus Aerospace TAV missions
The aircraft will be capable of performing optionally piloted missions with remotely piloted and fully autonomous functionalities.
The TAV can perform multiple missions including close air support (CAS), counter-insurgency (COIN), forward air control (FAC), armed aerial scout (AAS), special ops coverage, combat search and rescue (C-SAR). It will be useful for armed nation’s capital/city protection, and border patrol.
The maritime version will have the capability of performing coastal and maritime patrol, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-piracy operations. It can also be used as military MEDEVAC, re-arm and re-supply, and refuelling tanker.
Engine and performance
The aircraft will be powered by two turboprop engines developing 1,700shp each. The maximum speed of the air vehicle will be 360kt.
The aircraft will be able to operate at an altitude of 36,000ft. The unrefuelled endurance of the aircraft will be 6.5 hours, while the range with 45 minutes reserve will be up to 1,300nm.
The tactical air vehicle will offer an endurance of nine hours when loaded with auxiliary internal fuel, while the maximum range will be up to 2,000nm with auxiliary fuel and 45 minutes reserve.