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DCNS and Thales Design Automatic Deck Landing System for UAVs

DCNS and Thales have come up with D2AD, an automatic system meant for facilitating the take-off, landing and deck-landing of UAVs. They plan to conduct sea trials of the system in 2012 with a French Navy frigate, Boeing and H-6U Unmanned Little Bird rotorcraft.

DCNS-D2AD

Prior to this, deck-landing of the UAV was successfully tested in the US during the months of June and July on a moving platform. The success of the new design is yet to be established in the area of risk reduction for future tactical UAV programmes, which the DGA will manage for the French Navy and Army.

The sea trials will aim at establishing the automatic deck-landing of UAVs on a frigate deck at both high sea state and at low visibility situations. The success of the system will be measured by its ability to automatically integrate all the constraints associated with the take-offs and landings on decks. The automated system was developed jointly by Thales and DCNS, with Thales contributing with the positioning system and the UAV interface and DCNS taking care of the vessel motions and the harpoon system. The D2AD system is a significant step in the use of UAV rotorcraft by naval forces, for conducting land and sea operations. The automated system is an on-board landing and take-off system, which does not need pilot’s intervention and offers a high degree of safety for the UAV rotorcraft.

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