Spanish company Indra has begun an R&D project to develop an automatic vertical take-off and landing rotary wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) to be used on board different kinds of Spanish Navy vessels.

The Pelicano unmanned system will have an endurance capacity to run for 24 hours a day for a month and will undergo maritime and ground military applications for troop protection, maritime reconnaissance and patrol, humanitarian missions and acts against piracy.

In addition, the UAS will perform homeland security missions including border control and narcotics, surveillance, intelligence, traffic control, emergency management, fires, volcanic eruption observation and search and rescue.

Based on the APID60 platform, developed by Swedish company Cybaero, the Pelicano system will comprise three or four helicopters and a fully interoperable control station to receive information collected in the air in real time.

The Pelicano will become an extension of the embarked radars and sensors aboard the ship being integrated with the vessel’s command system.

The mission system will carry a lightweight radar, electronic intelligence systems and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threat-detection sensors and also include an IFF transponder, an identification component.

The aircraft being developed in cooperation with Cybaero is scheduled to be launched in 2012.

The Pelicano project is an R&D project jointly financed by Indra and two Spanish government ministries: the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism.