SR WO3 Protector Counter-IED UAV was unveiled by SteelRock Technologies at the Farnborough International Airshow in July 2018. Image courtesy of SteelRock Technologies.
The UAV is primarily designed to mitigate the threats posed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Image courtesy of SteelRock Technologies.
The SW WO3 Protector UAV weighs 14kg without batteries. Image courtesy of SteelRock Technologies.

SR WO3 Protector is a fully automated, remotely operated unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed and developed by SteelRock Technologies, a UK-based start-up specialised in the production of unmanned aerial systems and counter UAV systems.

SteelRock Technologies launched the WO3 Protector UAV at the Farnborough International Airshow held in Farnborough, France, in July 2018.

Designed to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs), both in the air and on the ground, the UAV will enable service personnel to safely perform counter-IED operations.

It can also be deployed in covert surveillance operations, combat missions, and civil and industrial inspection activities.

SR WO3 Protector UAV design and features

The Protector UAV’s design combines an IED disruptor with the SR-1 Eagle Owl UAV of SteelRock Technologies. The vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) design of the counter IED-UAV enables it to overcome the difficulties faced by current ground systems while disrupting IEDs in harsh terrains. It will serve as a ‘seek and destroy’ solution to counter the burgeoning threat of IEDs.

The EOD platform offers superior stability in different operating conditions and can carry heavy payloads. It integrates a next-generation UAV platform with highly effective laser-guided disrupter technology to enhance the efficiency of counter-IED operations.

The airframe of the VTOL UAV is a carbon fibre structure based on four long-leg mounts made of aluminium. It protrudes towards the sides to form four extended arms. Each arm, made of aluminium, features a rotating support mast that houses a pair of rotary blades.

The unmanned aircraft has a length and width of 9m, and a height of 3m. It weighs approximately 14kg without inclusion of batteries.

Sensors onboard SR WO3 Protector UAV

The interchangeable payload system aboard the UAV includes a 40mm recoilless IED disrupter and an advanced thermal electro optical camera.

The UAV can carry a maximum payload of 50kg, including a laser targeting system, 640 thermal imaging camera, target tracking system, and high-definition (HD) colour cameras.

“Designed to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs), both in the air and on the ground, the UAV will enable service personnel to safely perform counter-IED operations.”

The 4K HD videos captured by the onboard thermal cameras are sent to the ground station through a data link using an end-to-end AES signal encryption.

Navigation and control

The real-time position tracking and navigational requirements of the UAV are served by the onboard global positioning system (GPS).

The safety of the UAV when operating in complex environments is ensured by the usage of an advanced SR flight control system. The inbuilt object avoidance software helps the vehicle in avoiding collisions with other objects.

The SR WO3 Protector can be optionally fitted with a SR emergency parachute system, which enables it to safely return to the operator in the event of system malfunction.

SteelRock Technologies also offers a ground station for the processing and analysis of the gathered telemetric data.

The maximum telemetry range of the UAV from the base station is 200km, while the maximum live HD video streaming range from the base station is 100km.

Performance of Protector UAV

The SR WO3 Protector UAV is equipped with eight KDE Direct brushless motors driving counter-rotating propellers. The speed of the rotors is controlled by onboard SR high-power single-board electronic speed control (ESC) system.

The auxiliary power requirements of the unmanned vehicle can be addressed by onboard SR Power pack back-up batteries.

The power-plant enables the UAV to fly at a maximum speed of 100km/h. The endurance limit of the aircraft is two hours.