PARIS. Engineers at Azur Drones in Paris and Thales in La Defense, France, are co-developing PHEBUS, a new surveillance and communications concept based on a Skeyetech miniature unmanned aircraft system (UAS) or drone operating inside a secure communications cell.
Permanently connected to vehicles on the mission via a secure LTE cell, the Skeyetech UAS collects optical and thermal images and also offers the high levels of mobility and security needed to deploy payloads during an operation. The drone is designed for long endurance and features obstacle avoidance and automated mission management software to enhance flight safety.
PHEBUS is designed to meet defense forces and security services’ growing need for operational unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) offering greater levels of safety, security, and autonomy to support surveillance operations and protect military personnel and security professionals in the line of duty.
With the advanced connectivity functions of PHEBUS, personnel in the field will have direct access to geo-localized data gathered by the drone and can utilize the system's integrated chat and 3D mapping functions to communicate with other network users.
To protect critical infrastructure or maintain operational superiority on the digital battlefield, vehicles deploying the PHEBUS mini-UAS will provide security personnel and defense forces with a clear operational advantage, officials say.
Development of the PHEBUS system is underway at Azur Drones, with Thales providing technology expertise and in-depth knowledge of operational applications and use cases. A number of public and private sector organizations have already shown interest in the system, and are working with the two companies as part of a collaborative innovation process, company officials say.
The market launch of the system is planned for early 2019.