Adcom Focuses on Global Expansion


Adcom Focuses on Global Expansion
At the Dubai Airshow in 2013, Adcom Systems’ exhibit was dominated by a full-scale model of the UAE-based airframers latest creation – the 12-tonne Global Yabhon unmanned aircraft. This year the focus is not on the Global Yabhon, but on Adcoms global expansion.

As well as showcasing two new aircraft, the company announced yesterday that it is to start manufacturing and flying its aircraft in the UK, in one of the blocks of airspace in Wales created to permit flights of UAVs. Subsidiaries in other countries will follow.

“Adcom Systems is a world champion now in UAVs,” says Adcoms founder and chief designer, Dr Ali Al Dhaheri. I am very impressed with the Welsh government and the people there. Theyre eager to have the technologies of unmanned aircraft. Its progressing very well.

Adcoms UK operation is already up and running via a partnership with the British company DO Systems. DOS offer a range of airborne surveillance solutions based around DA42 manned aircraft from a base at Bournemouth Airport, which is where Adcoms UK operation is headquartered.

A final manufacturing location has yet to be decided, but an initial facility is under construction in Wales. The Adcom-DOS partnership have opted for a higher set of certification and regulation standards than required.

A lot of UAV operators dont understand things like EASA [European Aviation Safety Agency] standards, says Ian Griffiths, AOSs CEO and Adcom UKs manager. The work is at a Part 145 facility. Its not required by law but thats because nobody has made that law yet [for UAVs]. Ali said, ‘Aim for the highest standard, and thats what weve done.

Flights will take place from Qinetiqs facility at Llanbedr Airfield, with a first UK flight of Adcoms signature aircraft, the S-shaped, twin-winged United 40, perhaps as soon as February. Work done on the Thales-led Watchkeeper program has helped inform Adcoms plans for flying in Britain.

Weve been watching [the Watchkeeper team] pave the way with airspace allocation, usage and acceptance by general aviation, says Griffiths. Obviously this will be the largest unmanned aircraft to be seen in those skies.

Al Dhaeri is also targeting expansion in two other territories India and Saudi Arabia.

India have a big interest in all our products, he says. We are now in the process of creating the company and working with the government there. And Saudi Arabia is coming along very well. These technologies have to be established in the country, and its not simple. We need to educate and train people to set up manufacture. But we are very fast we can set up manufacture in six months.

As befits a company that is keen to do it all Adcom builds not just aircraft but ground control stations, sensor turrets and datalinks plans are in train to equip the aircraft with a sense-and-avoid capability.

We have a system to install, says Griffiths. Thereve been trials done in another country on a Diamond platform. Its a matter of finding which one is best for each aircraft.

The two new Adcom aircraft on display at the Airshow the Yabhon Flash 20, and the Hazem 15 will likely be the last of Al Dhaheris designs to emerge for a while.

The United 40 became famous and popular, he says. It took the world by surprise, and we thought wed expand. Two years ago we launched the Global Yabhon, a 12-tonne aircraft. Then we started to see a demand for smaller aircraft, so we introduced the Yabhon Flash 20, which is the smallest of our UAVs at about 1.5 tonnes [maximum take-off weight]. The Hazem 15 is 5 tonnes, with very long wings 23m. So now weve probably covered everything, and I dont think we need more than these.

The proposed mission sets for the Flash 20 are as distinctive as Dhaheris eye-catching designs. He is keen to see Adcoms business come primarily from non-military customers, and the aircraft is being marketed for wildlife protection applications.

I call that aircraft a whale tracker, Dhaheri says. It flies for 60 or 70 hours, which would be nice for whale tracking.

Dhaheri also is hoping that other UAS manufacturers answer a call he is issuing at the Airshow to establish a consortium to promote a better public image for UAVs.

Well be more than glad to communicate with everybody, he says. We can even release some of our technology. Our objective is to improve the reliability of UAVs. It doesnt matter who makes them.

Contry:  UAE
Category:  UAV

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