The aircraft itself is fully pre-configured in order to allow Aurora to convert the platform easily to their Optionally Piloted Aircraft (OPA) “Centaur”.
The aircraft can be configured with mission equipment customized for different mission requirements. In the nose section, the aircraft is able to carry Electro-Optical/Infra-Redcameras up to 15” gimbals and 65kg. The belly section is designed for radar or communication systems. Live data from the aircraft can be transmitted in real time via a Line of Sight or Beyond Line of Sight link to any designated ground station.
The Centaur combines manned and unmanned aircraft capabilities, including three modes of operation:
Developed from Diamond’s DA42 Special Mission Aircraft platform, it offers a versatile, flexible airborne sensing platform with exceptional range, high efficiency and extremely low life cycle cost for a range of mission types including: intelligence, law enforcement and science.
It’s an excellent solution for operations over controlled airspace, utilizing the high degree of safety and redundancy required for manned aircraft, with the payload capacity and flexibility of a large unmanned system.
David Fasching, Project Manager, Special Mission Aircraft, Diamond Aircraft Austria: “We are very pleased to hereby announce the completion of another successful project with our long-term partner AURORA. In particular I would like to emphasize that it was a great pleasure for me to have an excellent cooperation with all participants during this venture and I look forward to continuing this cooperation with further projects.”
Markus Fischer, Director, Special Mission Aircraft: “We are proud to have such an outstanding and innovative partner as customer for now more than ten years now. It is always a big moment when our Special Mission Aircraft leave our facility to become an even more capable product in the hands of our partner. We are very much looking forward to seeing those aircraft performing as we have designed them; as super sufficient long endurance platform.”
Per Beith, President and CEO, Aurora Flight Sciences, added: “Diamond Aircraft has been a great partner. We are really excited about the converting these new aircraft to Optionally Piloted Aircraft and working with Diamond on building a larger OPA fleet in the near future.”