Unmanned Systems Technology 038 l Skyeton Raybird-3 l Data storage l Sea-Kit X-Class USV l USVs insight l Spectronik PEM fuel cells l Blue White Robotics UVIO l Antennas l AUVSI Xponential Virtual 2021 report

23 Such operators consistently need to cover thousands of kilometres per mission, especially when searching for casualties or inspecting high-value public infrastructure such as powerlines and pipelines. As a result, maximising flight endurance, range and hence aerodynamics quickly became Skyeton’s priorities. These days, many UAV engineers prioritise minimisation of downtime between recovering and relaunching UAVs, for example by using hot- swappable batteries, which indeed make sense for a wide range of commercial survey operations. However, that would not hugely help the sort of customer Skyeton seeks to serve through its long-term goal of a business-to-government business model – operating fleets of its Raybird-3 UAVs wherever emergency services, defence forces and similar groups have contracted them to do so, then selling the data gathered at the quality, quantity and price requested. Instead, Skyeton has focused on maximising the ‘uptime’ between downtimes, as well as the value derived from each flight. Aside from a natural focus on every aspect of the Raybird-3’s architecture – from its aerodynamics, powertrain, payload systems, comms and navigation to launch and recovery systems (LARSs) – its r&d has gone beyond these standard subsystems, and it is now developing the means for fully automated launch and recovery of autonomous UAV swarms. The aim is to be able to cover several thousand square kilometres of ocean and/or terrain from a single command centre, using a relatively small flight team and providing continuous data feedback for major civil or military emergencies. System architecture The company’s emphasis on endurance has engendered a few notable engineering decisions in the Raybird-3’s architecture that set it apart from key trends in the broader high-end UAV sphere. Skyeton Raybird-3 | Dossier distance Designing as much functionality and flight time as we could into an aircraft package weighing no more than 25 kg became our goal early on Unmanned Systems Technology | June/July 2021 Ukraine-based Skyeton has engineered the Raybird-3 for large-area persistent survey, with endurances of 25- 30 hours or more (Images courtesy of Skyeton)