Thales has won a contract to deliver Fulmar Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).
Fulmar, a small fixed wing UAS, is to be installed on six New Generation Patrol Crafts (NGPC), being constructed by Destini Shipbuilding and Engineering Sdn. Bhd. The maritime design of Fulmar allows the aircraft to take-off and land, whilst the ship is in motion, a key requirement of the MMEA, the company said in a statement Monday.
Fulmar will extend the operational capabilities of the Malaysian maritime surveillance fleet, proving a range of operations including counter-piracy, anti-smuggling operations, fisheries policing and border surveillance. Automatic detection and tracking systems and Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) deliver unrivalled high performance surveillance on a flexible platform.
IHS Jane’s first reported in March 2016 that the company has been selected to supply six units of the UAV that will be operated from the MMEA’s six new 44 m coastal patrol vessels. The vessels, known as the New Generation Patrol Craft (NGPC), were ordered under a MYR380 million (USD96.8 million) contract signed with local shipbuilder Destination Marine Services (DMS) in 2015.
Speaking to IHS Jane’s at the DSA 2016 exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, Raul de Santos, customer service manager at Thales Espana for the Fulmar project, said that the UAVs will each be supplied with a shipborne 3.5 m by 0.5 m catapult-based launcher, a UAV ground control station that can each control up to three UAVs in tandem, and a shipborne maritime recovery system.
“However should there be a situation where the UAV is not able to be recovered from the platform directly, the Fulmar UAV can land in the water and remain afloat for up to thirty minutes”, said Santos, adding that the system’s propulsion and electrical systems will not be damaged in such a landing.
The Fulmar UAV has a 3 m wingspan and a length of 1.2 m, can be flown at altitudes of up to 4,000 m (13,123 ft), and can carry a payload of up to 8 kg. According to de Santos, the MMEA UAVs will each carry one high-resolution video camera that allows for automatic target tracking via operator consoles that can be located either onboard the ship or in the respective ground control stations.