Safran, Edge Autonomy Unveil Lanner VTOL UAS at Eurosatory 2024

The Lanner, based on Edge Autonomy's Penguin UAS, is modified for the French Army's Light Tactical Drone System program.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 04:44 AM, June 20, 2024
  • 1279
Safran, Edge Autonomy Unveil Lanner VTOL UAS at Eurosatory 2024
Lanner VTOL UAS @Safran

Safran Electronics & Defense and Edge Autonomy have jointly introduced the Lanner, a new configuration of the Penguin Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) Uncrewed Aircraft System (UAS), at Eurosatory 2024.

The Lanner is based on the Penguin UAS platform, modified specifically to meet the requirements of the Light Tactical Drone System (SDTL) program for the French armed forces.

The Lanner configuration is designed to support a variety of missions, thanks to its dual payload capability. It can carry Electro-Optical/Infra-Red systems, electronic warfare equipment (including radio signal detection and jamming), radar, and ammunition, enabling it to perform land and maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.

The Lanner configuration capitalizes on the capabilities of Edge Autonomy’s Penguin UAS along with Safran’s system expertise in optronics, PNT (position, navigation, and timing), UAV airworthiness, and mission systems, the company said.

Safran, Edge Autonomy Unveil Lanner VTOL UAS at Eurosatory 2024
Lanner VTOL UAS @Safran

Penguin UAS’ Ukraine deployment

The Penguin UAS, part of last year's U.S. aid package to Ukraine, features modular software architecture enabling autonomy, helping it survive Russian electronic warfare targeting command signals. Its flexible altitude and flight speeds aid in radar evasion. The configurable payload can include components to neutralize Russian counter-drone systems. Originally designed for commercial use, cost reductions have lowered its base price to under $20,000. This affordability allows the Penguin UAS to be used as expendable assets, offering operational flexibility. Russian counter-drone systems are expensive and risk exposure to Ukrainian artillery when targeting the Penguin UAS.

Developed by UAV Factory in Latvia and now manufactured by Edge Autonomy in California, the Penguin is considered the closest civilian equivalent to a military-grade UAV. Resembling the Bayraktar TB-2 but with a smaller wingspan of 3.2 to 3.5 meters, the Penguin UAS comes in various models. U.S. aid to Ukraine likely includes the Penguin B and Penguin C models, ordered in 2022. These models are versatile, supporting a range of payloads. The Penguin C has enhanced aerodynamics, extended range, and 20-hour flight capabilities. Most Penguin UAS require a catapult for launch, but some Penguin C models offer VTOL capabilities.

These drones are easy to use, allowing a two-person team to unpack and launch them within an hour. The Penguin B's modularity enables easy integration and customization of various payloads. With a payload capacity of around 4 kg, they can carry high-resolution imaging sensors, multispectral cameras, LiDAR systems, and other data acquisition sensors. The Penguin UAS can perform autonomous flights, executing predefined missions and flight paths with advanced autopilot systems and mission planning software.

Safran, Edge Autonomy Unveil Lanner VTOL UAS at Eurosatory 2024
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