With the growing use of unmanned systems, defence forces and security services need operational UAVs offering ever greater levels of safety, security and autonomy to support surveillance operations and protect military personnel and security professionals in the line of duty. Azur Drones and Thales are co-developing PHEBUS, a new surveillance and communications concept based on a Skeyetech mini-drone operating inside a secure communications cell.
Permanently connected to vehicles on the mission thanks to a secure LTE cell, the Skeyetech drone collects optical and thermal images and also offers the high levels of mobility and security needed to deploy payloads during an operation. The drone is designed for long endurance and features obstacle avoidance and automated mission management software to enhance flight safety.
With the advanced connectivity functions of PHEBUS, personnel in the field will have direct access to geolocalised data gathered by the drone and can utilise the system's integrated chat and 3D mapping functions to communicate with other network users.
To protect critical infrastructure or maintain operational superiority on the digital battlefield, vehicles deploying the PHEBUS mini-UAS will provide security personnel and defence forces with a clear operational advantage.
Development of the PHEBUS system is underway at Azur Drones, with Thales providing technology expertise and its in-depth knowledge of operational applications and use cases. A number of public and private sector organisations have already shown interest in the system, and are working with the two companies as part of a collaborative innovation process. The market launch of the system is planned for early 2019.