Senegal has recently acquired several units of the Black Eagle 50H, a hybrid vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aircraft system (VTOL UAS) from Israel’s Steadicopter, as part of its efforts to strengthen its unmanned capabilities and enhance its security and defence.
The Black Eagle 50H is the world’s first hybrid-powered unmanned helicopter, which can perform a variety of missions in the domains of law enforcement, maritime, civilian and covert operations. The system has a maximum takeoff weight of 50 kg and can carry multiple large or small payloads, such as cameras, sensors, radars, and weapons. The system can fly for up to five hours, which is much longer than other VTOL platforms in its class, and can operate in day or night conditions.
The hybrid engine and propulsion system of the Black Eagle 50H combines the advantages of both electric and gasoline power sources, making it cost-effective, simple, easy, eco-friendly, and safe. The system can switch between generator and battery power modes, depending on the mission requirements and the level of stealth needed. The system also has excellent reliability and adaptability to high-altitude flights, thanks to the electric propulsion segment which is less affected by the ambient air pressure.
“The Black Eagle 50H is a true multi-domain, multi-mission and multi-sensor system, coupled with all the benefits of a covert, easy-to-maintain, highly-versatile electric-powered system,” says Noam Lidor, VP Sales, Marketing & Business Development at Steadicopter. “Its ability to carry advanced payloads and its capability for extended time in the air ensure both mission success and flexibility.”
Senegal is one of the leading countries in Africa in terms of unmanned systems development and deployment. The country aims to improve its situational awareness, intelligence gathering, and operational effectiveness in dealing with the complex and evolving security threats in the region, such as terrorism, armed militancy, piracy, and smuggling. Unmanned systems are becoming a key enabler for African military and security forces in combatting these threats, by providing surveillance, intelligence, and strike capabilities, while reducing the risk of collateral damage and civilian casualties, and overcoming the challenges of remote and inaccessible areas.
In addition to the Black Eagle 50H, Senegal has also procured other types of unmanned systems from different countries, such as the Strix 400 from France, the M600WP from Spain, and the YFT-CZ33 from China, to boost its operations and capabilities in various domains and scenarios.