Integrator Extended Range (ER) is an advanced unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed and manufactured by Insitu, a company based in the US. It is an enhanced version of the Integrator unmanned aircraft system (UAS).
The Integrator ER UAV was officially unveiled by Insitu at the Air, Space & Cyber Conference (ASC) 2018, organised by the Air Force Association (AFA) at National Harbor, Washington, US, in September 2018.
Designed to address the unmanned aerial mission requirements of militaries across the world, the UAV is tailored to perform a range of missions including maritime patrol, search-and-rescue (SAR), signal intelligence (SIGNIT), intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and target designation missions.
Integrator Extended Range UAV design and features
The high-wing design improves the centre of gravity of the Integrator ER UAV. The design configuration is similar to that of the RQ-21A Blackjack small tactical unmanned air system (STUAS) and ScanEagle UAS. The Integrator ER is a Group 3 UAV with Group 4 and 5 capabilities.
The UAV encompasses a modular design that enables easy integration of payloads. The runway-independent capability of the twin-tailed unmanned vehicle allows the operators to launch it from ship decks, rugged terrains and high altitudes.
The overall length of the unmanned vehicle is 8.2ft (2.5m) and its wingspan is 16ft (4.9m). The UAV has a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 145lb (65.8kg).
The operating team of the UAV includes 12 operators, mission commanders and maintenance staff.
Payload and communications
The UAV carries an Alticam 14 enhanced ISR turret, integrating high-definition cameras, video equipment, thermal imager kits, and laser rangefinders. Other payloads include a automatic identification system (AIS), electronic warfare (EW) and systems and signals intelligence (SIGINT).
The data gathered by the UAV is relayed to the control station through a beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) datalink. The on-board satellite communication (SATCOM) system offers a high level of security for the transmission of information. The bandwidth throughput is approximately 10Mbps.
Engine and performance
The unmanned aircraft is powered by a piston engine equipped with an electronic fuel injection (EFI) system. The jet engine burns JP-5 or JP-8 aviation fuels. It is custom-designed to enhance the UAV’s payload carrying capacity and reliability.
The engine enables the unmanned vehicle to attain a maximum horizontal speed of more than 90kt (46m/s). The cruise speed of the aircraft is 55kt (28m/s), while its maximum operating altitude is 20,000ft (6,000m).
Designed to perform long-range missions for extended durations, the Integrator ER has a maximum endurance of 18 hours. It can continuously operate for ten hours within a mission radius of 200nm and can operate for six hours at a maximum mission range of 300nm.
The UAV comes with an extended over-watch range compared to the Integrator. It ensures the safety of the operators by improving their situational awareness, while keeping them away from hazardous environments.
Launch and recovery of Integrator Extended Range UAV
The extended range UAV can be launched using the Mark 4 launcher system, which is powered by an air compressor and a diesel generator. The runway-independent platform ensures the launch of the UAV within ten minutes.
The SkyHook recovery system is used for the recovery of the unmanned aircraft, using an advanced, fully-autonomous approach and capture system, the SkyHook recovers the unmanned aircraft mid-air and eliminates the need for runways and nets to capture UAVs.
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Credit: Air Force Technology
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