Fulmar is a marinized UAV developed by the Spanish manufacturer Wake Engineering (formerly known as Aerovision). This unique UAV can be launched from a vessel and is currently used by the Spanish Army, among others. Fulmar makes use of a powerful flight control system that was developed by UAV Navigation, yet another Spanish company. UAV Navigation’s autopilot powers up this 3-meter wingspan that was exclusively developed for ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) operations. Further, the Fulmar can handle between 6 to 12 hours endurance, 20 kilograms MTOW and 80-kilometer range.
Therefore, Fulmar required a flight control system or autopilot system that was both powerful and precise. This Herculean task was shouldered by UAV Navigation — a company that worked on the Fulmar project right from the start. In fact, the collaboration between Wake Engineering and UAV Navigation began with Fulmar and was subsequently extended due to outstanding results. During these years of close collaboration, the companies have worked hand-in-glove to resolve various technical complexities involved in designing a flight control system, that suffices the very specific needs of this marinized UAV that is fully functional on the land. For example, the flight control system of Fulmar facilitated fixed net landing on a moving vessel or land-based landing. After all, Fulmar was designed to be launched in a unique way, which is by catapulting it from land or from a ship, and later landing it on a fixed net. This kind of launch required very high precision due to the movements experienced in the sea. To overcome this challenge, a team of engineers had to make use of the mobile one RTK technology to launch Fulmar from the ship. Once achieved, the companies shifted their focus on enhancing the capabilities of this UAV and making it capable of landing on moving platforms. Therefore, designing a flight control system that could help achieve all of that wasn’t easy and required an expert team.
However, the end result was impressive and currently, UAV Navigation’s flight control system enables Fulmar to perform complete autonomous operations. Lauding UAV Navigation’s dedication and support, Borja Comino, CEO of Wake Engineering commented “What I appreciate the most about working with UAV Navigation is how they listen to us, gather our requirements and meet the planned deadlines.” The success of the Fulmar project built a high level of confidence between Wake Engineering and UAV Navigation. Comino further commented that “UAV Navigation has been instrumental in improving Fulmar’s performance so far and we are definitely looking forward to strengthening our collaboration in the future.” This collaboration evidences the technological potential of UAV Navigation as well as the outstanding capabilities of the Fulmar developed by Wake Engineering, a pioneer in the UAS manufacturing industry.