Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The CSIR’s R&D portfolio in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) has grown considerably with increasing demand for use of its research platforms as well as its aerodynamic design and optimisation capability.  The CSIR houses a UAS laboratory which incorporates high-fidelity flight simulators with aircraft sub-system hardware-in-the-loop, such as autopilots and control surface servo actuators.

The role that the CSIR currently plays in the UAS field is that of:
• Conceptual design
• Multi-disciplinary optimisation
• Detailed design
• Structural design
• Aerodynamic characterisation

The manufacture of the new design concepts is typically outsourced to SMMEs but integration of the systems takes place in the CSIR UAS laboratory. The CSIR has a number of engineers trained in flight test techniques that put the UAS through their paces to validate the design predictions in both performance and stability and control.

Multi-Disciplinary Optimisation (MDO)

Aeronautic Systems has developed its multi-disciplinary design optimisation capability.This design optimisation capability has been further developed with funding from the Department of Science and Technology and it is currently being applied to the further development of two airframes for South African Industry. The validation of CEASIOM for the optimisation of a blended-wing-body UAS was carried out based on wind tunnel test data.

Modular UAS LE (Long Endurance)

The CSIR flagship Modular UAS, first flown in 2009, has been continuously developed in the past years. The latest modifications extend the span to 6 m to provide a longer endurance capability for use in border safeguarding exercises.

The smaller CSIR research UAS, the Indiza, is a 2 m span, hand-launched, rugged mini-UAS. The airframe can accept a number of generic camera pods. These interchangeable pods consist of three different types of camera systems:
• A pan, tilt and stow twin-camera system
• A stowable, high definition wide angle video camera
• A 3G cellphone based camera

A tracking antenna system has been developed for establishing higher quality communications (both data and video) between the flight vehicle and the ground station.

Various versions of the Indiza UAS have been demonstrated in a series of joint CSIR/SANDF border safeguarding exercises. The CSIR also supports SANParks through the provision of expert support in the selection and use of UAS.

John Morgan
Telephone number: 012 841 2738
Email: JMorgan@csir.co.za

Kimal Hiralall
Telephone number: 012 841 3187
Email: KHiralall@csir.co.za