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Romania Unveils the Ultra 60 Tactical Drone at BSDA 2024

At the Black Sea Defense & Aerospace 2024 exhibition, the Romanian Military Technical Academy unveiled the Ultra 60, a class I tactical drone designed to be affordable and effective for military operations. This prototype marks a significant step in the development of cost-effective unmanned aerial systems (UAS) intended for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missio

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The Ultra 60 drone includes sensors operating in both the visible and infrared spectrum, allowing it to function in various lighting conditions (Picture source: ArmyRecognition)

The Ultra 60 drone has a flight autonomy of 10 hours and an operational range of 100 kilometers. It can fly at altitudes up to 5,000 meters and carry a payload of 25 kilograms. These features make it a versatile asset for extended missions requiring reliable and long-duration surveillance.

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Developed with cost efficiency in mind, the Ultra 60 integrates several advanced technologies to enhance its operational effectiveness. The drone includes sensors operating in both the visible and infrared spectrum, allowing it to function in various lighting conditions. Additionally, it is equipped with an optical zoom capable of up to 30x magnification, a SAR sensor, and IFF mode 5, ensuring accurate identification and tracking of targets.

The Ultra 60 also features encrypted communications to protect the integrity of transmitted data, as well as sensors designed to track moving targets and determine target coordinates. This suite of capabilities ensures that the Ultra 60 can effectively gather, process, and exploit critical data from its embedded sensors.

The robust design of the platform includes a tracked terrestrial platform, a hydraulic arm, an electric control panel, and accumulators, enhancing its versatility and operational readiness. The maximum takeoff weight of the Ultra 60 is 80 kilograms, with a wingspan of 4.5 meters, supporting its payload capacity and flight endurance.

The development of combat drones and ISR drones is rapidly expanding worldwide, including in countries like Romania. Technological advancements enable the design of increasingly sophisticated and affordable systems, meeting the growing needs of modern armies for precise surveillance and attack capabilities. The Romanian Military Technical Academy, for example, is working on other prototypes besides the Ultra 60, such as the Ultra-20. These drones play a crucial role in providing real-time information and improving battlefield decision-making, thereby enhancing national defense capabilities while reducing risks for human troops.

These developments are largely driven by their increasing use in recent conflicts, such as those in Ukraine and Azerbaijan. Drones have proven their effectiveness as warfare tools in these regions, enabling precise strikes and continuous surveillance missions, often in hostile and hard-to-reach environments for conventional forces. The use of drones in the Ukrainian conflict, for instance, has highlighted their ability to provide essential strategic support for both offensive and defensive operations. Similarly, the success of Azerbaijani drones in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has demonstrated the importance of these systems in modern warfare. Thus, the rise of combat and ISR drones is part of a global trend towards automation and enhanced intelligence capabilities, responding directly to the demands of contemporary theaters of operations.

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