Saab's SHARC Performs its First Autonomous Take-Off and Landing

Released on Thursday, September 2, 2004
GPS - Global Positioning System
UAV - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
UCAV - Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle
The Saab corporation of Sweden has announced that the SHARC Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Technical Demonstrator successfully performed autonomous take-off, fly away, and landing operations on August 25, 2004. The test took place at Swedish Defense Material Administration test site in Vidsel

This event marks an important milestone for the Swedish defense industry with Saab joining the few companies that succeed in conducting a totally autonomous flight. Moreover, Saab has strengthened its position in the emerging UAV global market and future multi-national programs such as the European UCAV program led by France.

After taking off without pilot assistance, the SHARC performed a totally autonomous mission following a pre-programmed path and finally landed on its own. The aircraft relied upon a differential GPS and a radar height finder to succeed in landing operation. This test is part of the third test series scheduled for this program. Autonomous landing and take off capabilities are considered as a critical risk reduction to operations at dusk or in darkness, in a safer way than pilot-controlled operations.

The SHARC demonstrator program developed by Saab started in 2001 with the first flight reported in February 2002. The two previous test campaigns carried out in Vidsel focused on both within the visual range and beyond the visual range autonomous flights. The data gathered along these tests, laid the foundation for the successful take-off and landing operations.


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