Police may soon operate covert surveillance missions in a restyled autogyro following the development of a Manned Airborne Surveillance (MAS) platform by Derbyshire start-up, Gyrojet.
The two-seater Scorpion S3 autogyro has been designed for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) market, but could also be modified for use by the film, entertainment and commercial sectors.
Company founder and pilot Barry Jones was impressed with the reliability and performance of autogyros following an attempt to fly around the world in one several years ago.
‘I realised then that the autogyro is just as capable, if not more so, than the helicopter in many of its roles due to the helicopter’s high through life costs and constant need for significant maintenance,’ he said.
The Scorpion S3 uses an unpowered rotor in autorotation to develop lift, and a gas turbine Alison B17 engine-powered propeller to provide thrust. It is fitted with a centreline-mounted under belly sensor turret, tactical radios and data recorders.
It does not require complicated transmission and drive chain assemblies and so does not suffer from the associated vibration or airframe fatigue. Jones added that it could hover for long periods at heights that would be deemed unsafe for a helicopter.
The company believes the design will reduce costs for fleet operators by 75 per cent while also reducing their carbon footprint by up to 80 per cent compared to a conventional medium-sized gas turbine helicopter.
Following its unveiling at this year’s Farnborough International Air Show, Gyrojet has had a number of enquires from foreign defence forces and is currently in talks with the UK’s National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) to introduce the Scorpion S3 as part of the police surveillance helicopter fleet.
Unmanned aerial vehicles are moving into the mainstream and being used in many civilian applications. Click here to read more.