BNA Tiltrotor UAV is Flight Ready

The new tiltrotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Alesta, developed by BNA - Nurol BAE Systems Air Systems, will make its first flight in the coming days.

Issue 100

Nurol BAE Systems Air Systems (BNA), which has been working on a different UAV concept under the coordination of the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), has introduced the Alesta Unmanned Aircraft solution with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability for the use of security forces.

Alesta’s configuration is unique compared to other UAVs. The vehicle can take-off and land with its wings in the vertical position and fly like a fixed-wing aircraft when switched to horizontal flight by rotating its wings. Combining the advantages of fixed-wing planes and helicopters, Alesta doesn’t need a runway that fixed-wing aircraft require thanks to VTOL capable tilting-wings. When transitioned to horizontal flight mode, the UAV can take advantage of the lift created by the fixed wing to fly longer distances than helicopters. Alesta, which has an environmentally friendly electric motor and propulsion system, is designed to perform all tasks in a fully autonomous manner. Electric motor propulsion units distributed on every wing brings increased flight safety through fault tolerance. Autonomous mission execution capability beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) is a key requirement for integration into regulated air space in the future.

The ground tests of Alesta are expected to be completed within 1-2 weeks, and the flight tests are being arranged to be carried out in August at the UAV Testing and Evaluation Center in Kalecik according to the BNA officials. Alesta is designed as a proof-of-concept to introduce the concept to potential users and to develop larger aircraft based on this configuration. By integrating various payloads and sensors, Alesta will be able to perform different tasks such as reconnaissance, surveillance, intelligence, disaster relief, and firefighting. Potential use cases for BNA's Alesta UAVs include cargo transport in rural areas for both military and civilian purposes, reconnaissance in suburbs, rural areas, or near cities subject to local civil aviation regulation restrictions, search & rescue operations and OPV (Optionally Piloted Aircraft) long-term targeting. The Alesta CV (Concept Version) is a fully electric tilt-wing VTOL UAV built from carbon composite materials. The vehicle has two identical sized tilting wings and eight independent propulsion units.

The conceptual properties of the Alesta family members to come are unique with higher performance & payload capacities (50+Kg). The aircraft has a bay in the front for installing camera payloads. It is 1.6 m in length, 1.6 m in height, and has a 1.8 m wingspan. The vehicle has a range of 20-35 km (depending on cargo weight) and a maximum speed of 120 km/h. Alesta has a payload capacity of 5-8 kg, flight endurance of 20-30 minutes, and a maximum weight of 25 kg. The next configuration of Alesta will be able to be controlled by using virtual reality, and it will be capable of automatically detecting an undefined obstacle and perform avoidance maneuvers accordingly. 

The serial production of Alesta is expected to begin at the beginning of 2021.