Two new systems, which are assertive in their classes, are being added to the unmanned aerial vehicles developed within the Turkish defense industry.
Turkish defense industry companies, which produce solutions in the field of unmanned systems, are working on solutions that can be demanded in the country and abroad in line with current developments and user needs. ESEN System also conducts flight tests with 2 new vehicles developed in this direction.
ESEN General Manager Cem Uğur said that since the establishment of the engineering company, which has left 11 years behind, it has been producing solutions in the fields of avionics systems, wide area surveillance systems, signal intelligence, aircraft modification and integration with Turkish engineers.
Uğur stated that they turned to unmanned aerial vehicles while thinking about which areas they could transfer this technological accumulation to, “As of the point our country has reached, there are many solutions in this field. We have probably become one of the countries that produce the best solutions in the world. It is difficult to establish such a very good engineering group with the location of our country and the solutions we have created. We have been able to produce such solutions in a short time with our existing software development and system engineering solutions.” he said.
“Very few rivals”
“Technology is advancing very rapidly in every field. Especially when we look at the sensors used on aircraft, their capacity is increasing and their weight and power are decreasing. In the past, you can find a 50 kilogram camera system with much lower weights, 10 kilograms, and they do the same job. In unmanned aerial vehicles, too. “You’re getting to the point where you can meet your needs with smaller drones. This means less cost, less maintenance. We thought that there would be a market for smaller, smaller unmanned aerial vehicles with lower weight. If you are doing this intelligence with such smaller unmanned aerial vehicles, another trend is to get up with electric motors.” -landing systems. This means you don’t need runways anymore. About 5 years ago, our view was that the market would shift here. It is an important opportunity to have unmanned aerial vehicles in the use of an outpost, to take off and make an intelligence flight and then land there or elsewhere. This is also an investment. As of today, we see that we were right. When we look at the tenders held abroad in the last 2-3 years, there is a renewal system in the USA. They want the same GÖKHUN vehicle there. They also look at such aircraft in systems that take off and land on ships. So we think we’re in a very good position.”
Stating that there are 4-5 companies in the world producing in this category, Uğur stated that there are very few vehicles like GÖKHUN with a take-off weight capacity of 110 kilograms.
It can stay in the air for 16 hours.
ESEN İHA Sistemleri Direktörü Süha Dinçer de GÖKHUN’un görece yeni bir kategori olarak nitelenebilecek dikey kalkış-inişli, sabit kanatlı, hibrit bir insansız hava aracı sınıfına dahil olduğunu söyledi.
Bu kategorinin 6-7 yıllık geçmişi olduğuna işaret eden Dinçer, özellikle 25 kilogram civarında dünyada çok fazla araç bulunduğunu, ancak elektrikli motor ve bataryaların kapasite artışıyla, elektrik motorlarının ağırlıklarının azalmasıyla bu kategoride çözümlerin sayısının artmaya başladığını belirtti.
Dinçer, GÖKHUN’un 110 kilogram maksimum kalkış ağırlığıyla sınıfındaki ürünlerden ayrıştığını vurgulayarak, aracın yapısal olarak 18 kilogram faydalı yük taşıyabildiğini, 12 kilogram faydalı yükle 16 saat havada kalabildiğini bildirdi.
Araçta yer alan pek çok sistemde farklı seviyelerde yedeklilikler bulunduğuna işaret eden Dinçer, navigasyon sisteminde üçlü, uçuş kontrol sistemi ve askeri standartlarda dijital data linkinde çift yedekliliğe sahip olduklarını söyledi.
Dinçer, dünyadaki ihaleleri takip ettiklerini belirterek, taleplerin GÖKHUN gibi sabit kanatlı, dikey-iniş kalkış yapabilen sistemlere doğru olduğunu dile getirdi.
Proje için 2019’dan bu yana çalıştıklarını ve İHA direktörlüğünde 43 kişinin görev yaptığını anlatan Dinçer, “Otopilot tamamıyla ESEN bünyesinde geliştiriliyor. Rafta hazır herhangi bir ticari otopilot ya da amatör otopilotlar kullanılmıyor bu uçağın üzerinde. Yine yer kontrol istasyonu yazılımı tamamen ESEN bünyesinde bize ait geliştirilen bir yazılım. Uçağın hem yapısal tasarımı hem de aerodinamik tasarım tamamen bize ait.” ifadesini kullandı.
Tests are completed at the end of the year
Responding to the questions regarding the stage the vehicle has reached, Dinçer gave the following information:
“We started flight tests in March. We have carried out 10 flight tests to date. We are currently in the phase of flight tests with electric motors only. This is an aircraft that has been flying straight with an internal combustion engine. At the beginning of September, we will start ground tests with the internal combustion engine integrated into the aircraft. We think we will be able to reach Technology Readiness Level 8 towards the end of the year. There is a development flight test campaign of around 150 hours, which we estimate will be completed by the end of the year.
First of all, we designed this aircraft for military use. We started to perform reconnaissance-surveillance and intelligence duties. Considering its capabilities, it has airtime, speed, range, and an effective mission range of 150 kilometers. His duties are military reconnaissance-surveillance, intelligence duties. It was designed as an aircraft to be used in a class between tactical UAVs and mini UAVs.”
rival to Puma
Süha Dinçer said that the second UAV they developed is in the mini UAV category.
Dinçer noted the following about the features of the vehicle they developed as a concept demonstration tool:
“We haven’t named the vehicle yet. It’s a fixed-wing electric-powered mini-UAV system that can be launched from a catapult or a vehicle and landed on the fuselage. We have made 8 flights so far. It was developed with a 5-month study in 2020 for a special reason. We plan to productize it later. We want to make this product, the equivalent of the famous Puma Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System, developed in Turkey and made in Turkey. We stopped our development activities, we spend all our efforts on GÖKHUN. We will return to this as soon as possible and adapt the avionics we have developed for GÖKHUN to this aircraft. We have the intention to build a family of drones.”