DRS RQ-15 Neptune
The DRS RQ-15 Neptune™ Unmanned Aircraft System is the latest in the DRS family of mobile, low-footprint tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The RQ-15 Neptune™ can be operated from land or sea. The development of the DRS RQ-15 Neptune began in late 1990s. First flight occurred in January 2002, and an initial production contract was awarded to DRS Unmanned Technologies in March 2002.
The new device is intended for use in the US Navy, and was actively involved for the exploration of air and water space. Despite the relatively narrow specificity of its application, the UAV is supposed to be very promising, which was due primarily to its flight performance, as well as a relatively low cost.
This aircraft can be disassembled into three parts and carried in its launcher/transport case. One of the aircraft's unique features is a pair of built-in receiver tubes, which allows the aircraft to slide onto its launch rails for compact storage inside the transport container. It can be pneumatically auto launched in a matter of minutes. The launcher/transport container provides a Tactical UAS in a Mini-UAS footprint.
The DRS RQ-15 Neptune™ aircraft is recovered by parachute on land or in water. Its engine is mounted above the fuselage as a single Line Replaceable Unit (LRU). Electronic and sensor systems LRUs are protected against corrosion in the maritime environment. The DRS Zeus Autopilot is an advanced system built on DRS' over twenty years of experience manufacturing autopilot systems.
The Ground Control Station is based on the DRS Appliqué 330 rugged laptop computer interfaced with the communications module and the aircraft hand controller. The Windows®-based system incorporates the FalconView™ mission planning and flight plan update software package. It handles up to 250 waypoints and is designed to operate primarily in autonomous flight profile modes. Operator intervention is required for payload management when over areas of interest.
The RQ-15 Neptune's™ L- and S-Band digital data link provides for aircraft control and 30 frames per second streaming video downlink to operational ranges exceeding 50 NM. The RQ-15 Neptune™ carries DRS' EO/IR stabilized gimbal, providing the user with both day and night imagery capability. An optional Remote Video Terminal allows reception of the aircraft video away from the ground station. The RQ-15 Neptune™ specifically addresses tactical operations over land or water where formal runway systems are unavailable. The six-foot launcher allows the aircraft to be deployed from utility vehicles or small surface vessels supporting operations day or night, on land or at sea.
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