Rapier X-25 is a remotely piloted system belonging to the Light Weight UAV Class (up to 25 kg of Maximum Take Off Weight) with features of surveillance, control and data sensing (both on sea and ground), typical of tactical aircraft. The Rapier X-25 is equipped with innovative systems able to guarantee the operativity in hostile environments and it is designed with optimization criteria in terms of aerodynamic efficiency, volumetric capability and structural weights, in order to guarantee high endurance (15-24 h) with payloads at the edge of technology (electro-optical and infra-red, Synthetic Aperture Radar, LIDAR).
Rapier X-25 System is composed of:
- Ground Control Stations
The GCS allows the aircraft and the payloads to be managed by the operator (selection of the flight operative modes and visualization of the data acquired by the onboard payload).
- Pneumatic Launching System
- Net Recovery System
The NRS allows aircraft to be recovered on boat or maritime platform. This system is alternative to the configuration based on parachute and airbag, in order to support mission in marine, or hostile environment.
|Range Data Link||80÷100 km|
|Rate of Climb (ROC)||750 ft/min (3.8 m/s)|
|Speed Envelope||72÷144 km/h (40÷78 kts)|
|Max Operational Altitude ASL (Sea Level)||4000 m|
|Max Operational Altitude AGL (Ground Level)||1000 m|
|Aircraft Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW)||25.0 kg|
|Endurance Range||15÷24 h (depending on carried payload)|
|Cruise Wind Limitation||<20 kts|
|Operational||Continuous mission capability|
|Cruise||Waypoints navigation or Autopilot commands|
|Deployment and packaging||<15 min|
- Proprietary FCS *. Development of a proprietary autopilot software, DO-178C compliant, with features of modularity and flexibility in order to be suitable for the entire Rapier family and adaptable to the customer needs. The software is based on fault-tolerant control laws that allow safe landing to be performed when failures occur. In addition, the software is designed in order to be resilient to cyber-attacks (e.g. jamming, spoofing).
- Operational flexibility. Capability to be suitable to several operational scenarios, included those which are more challenging. Rapier X-25 has a standard landing equipment with parachute and airbag, but thanks to an alternative landing system, with capture net, the aircraft can be used in the marine environment and, more generally, in all the critical conditions that do not allow a runway to be used.
- Performances. High endurance (>15h) to obtain a wide flight persistence for surveillance missions, and the latest technology of the electro-optical sensors to guarantee high performances in terms of Detection, Recognition and Identification (DRI).
- Sensors Fusion. Data coming from different sources are integrated in order to increase the information accuracy. For example, it is possible to combine a SAR with an electro-optical and infra-red sensor to efficiently perform a wide range of ISR missions.
- GCS Flexibility. The GCS is developed consistently with Rapier X-25 Program philosophy, thus it has a modular architecture, with a high level of customization, useful both for the functional aspects (possibility to implement additional tools), and for certifying issues (possibility to increase the DAL with reference to RTCA DO-178C regulation). This type of architecture guarantees high-performing and distinctive capabilities, such as: to set and change mission parameters depending on the aircraft configuration, to manage several types of onboard payload, to use a touch-screen human machine interface (New Fifth Generation Architecture).
* The FCC could be suitable for simplex, triplex and quadruplex architectures, typical of Tactical UAV category (MTOW 750 kg). Moreover, the FCC has a growth capability to be integrated on VCMS of several remoted piloted systems (multirotors, surface drones, etc.).
Rapier has been designed in order to integrate several payloads with different features in terms of capabilities, weights and sizes. The flexibility is assured by the fuselage modularity and by the possibility to change the onboard systems configuration in order to obtain an optimized aircraft balance.
- Electro-Optical/Infra-Red Sensor. The EO/IR sensor is the basic payload which allows ISR mission to be carried out. Rapier X-25 offers to customers the possibility to choice between two types of EO/IR sensors: the basic one (low weight) and the high-performing one (laser designator and range finder addicted with maximum Detection Reconnaissance Identification values).
- Synthetic Aperture Radar. A SAR can be coupled with an EO/IR sensor in order to optimize performances and guarantee change detection capabilities in ISR missions. This radar allows objects, oil spilling and polluted areas to be identified by providing high definition maps: an accuracy of about 10 cm is provided and maps cover areas of 2 x 4 km from a ground altitude of 1000 meters. The overall system weight is minimized in order to guarantee high endurance depending on the EO/IR sensor installed onboard.
- Sense and Avoid Sensor. The same HW used for the SAR, located in a different way, with specific SW and with a different antenna, can be used for collision avoidance (lower sizes and power consumptions) and for target acquisition.
- LIDAR. Low weight LIDARs, with power consumption similar to SARs, guarantee an accuracy of few centimetres. The ranges are lower than those of the SAR (3-4 km) but such devices allow ISR capabilities, Situation Awareness, Sense and Avoid, 3D mapping to be carried out.
- Multi/ Iperspectral cameras. This type of camera allows specific missions (e.g. Change Detection, Anti Camouflage, Terrain Characteristics, Fire detection, Agricultural Monitoring) to be performed by means of images analysis and comparison gathered at different wavelength.
- Trasmitter. Possibility to perform a Relè Radio by using the platform as bridge between ground units and command stations, thanks to a dedicated transmitter installed onboard.
Rapier X-25 is suitable both for military and civil/governmental operational use.
Thanks to its features, Rapier X-25 is the perfect solution for Intelligence Surveillance e Reconnaissance military mission: the awareness situation requires real-time smart information, relative to a specific field of operations affecting terrestrial and maritime threats, in order to guarantee a prompt answer to potential attacks.
- Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR): information acquisition for intelligence operations on specific targets (Example: Pattern of Life)
- Route Clearance: for safe communication routes in order to guarantee the armed forces transfer
- Force Protection: continuously monitoring and control of military installations to provide support at the forces deployed in the field
- Targeting: the UAV engages targets by means of a laser designator and allows a safer mission to be performed by the helicopter crew (teaming operation).
- Law Enforcement: surveillance activities with protection law targets based on anti-looting, anti-piracy, anti-pollution and control over the territory operations
Rapier X-25 also can support other relevant civil missions, thanks to the possibility to install several on board payloads such Multispectral or LIDAR, respectively needed for: ground mapping (farming, burned areas, mineral areas, and areas with potential environmental impact); geology, seismology, disaster monitoring.
- Land surveillance: environmental information acquisition, maps production and illegal building detection
- Territory Defence: economic-financial territory control (contraband, illegal trade, etc) and boundary control against immigration and terrorism
- Anti-pollution: oil-spilling control, illegal landfill, illegal waste disposal, ground and atmospheric pollution, forest fires
- Safety, public order and civil protection: environmental monitoring actions to reduce damages on community due to high magnitude accidental events (natural calamities, earthquakes, floods, etc).