Brazilian firm Stella Tecnologia, a specialised drone developer, has launched the ATOBÁ strategic drone, developed entirely in Brazil and using Brazilian technologies.
The remotely piloted air system (RPAS) has a wingspan of 11m, a 70kg payload capacity and is designed for multiple missions in both the civil and security environments. The launch marks Brazil’s entry into the group of nations manufacturing large drones, which includes China, Iran, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
Aimed at both domestic and export markets, ATOBÁ made its maiden flight on 20 July, meeting all technical and safety requirements. “We were impressed with the aircraft's stability and behaviour during flight simulations. We were sure of this performance, as we have been working on this Brazilian project for years,” commented CEO, Gilberto Buffara Jr.
ATOBÁ was born from the need for an economically viable alternative and a solution for a Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) UAS in the strategic arena. It capitalises on experience accumulated since 2004 in development of this type of technology by the team members, among them students from the University Federal University of Rio de Janeiro - UFRJ.
With a range of 250 km and endurance of some of 28 flight hours, ATOBÁ is propelled by a 4-stroke 60hp extremely efficient gasoline engine. Take-off and landing requires only 400m of runway. In addition to being easy to transport, the drone has a simplified assembly and disassembly system.
Extremely versatile, ATOBÁ is a powerful and effective tool for monitoring the littoral and land borders, in addition to providing assistance in public security and in monitoring major events. “We want to establish [a] solid partnerships with our armed forces and public security in projects for surveillance and protection of our borders and security operations. We believe that we have a lot to contribute to our country,” Buffara stated.
The platform is seen as strategic for the armed forces, since the national nature of ATOBÁ’s development carries a lower cost and generates national jobs. In addition, it offers operational persistence over a given area for a long period, flight autonomy and the ability to conduct remote operations. ATOBÁ was developed to match or surpass vehicles of the same class currently available on the international market.
“There are several viable proposals for using unmanned systems in the world. The nature of aeronautical goods means that specific products are used for each type of mission. We are open to studying creative applications for the use of the ATOBÁ system. Our acquisition cost makes it possible to use the drone in a wide range of applications,” explained Buffara.
For a brief video of ATOBÁ in flight, click here.