Greece unveils new surveillance drone to keep tabs on its islands

Billed as a multipurpose drone, Archytas is capable of operating in both rescue and military operations. (Hellenic Aerospace Industry)

With the creation of the locally produced Archytas aircraft, Greece is attempting to advance its domestic drone sector, which has lagged behind other European nations.

The vertical-takeoff-and-landing drone was originally displayed by officials earlier this month at the International Exhibition of Thessaloniki. The Aristotle, Thessaly, and Democritus universities collaborated with Hellenic Aerospace Industry to produce the fixed-wing aircraft. The Archytas launch, according to representatives, was intended to be the first of a series of upcoming items resulting from the collaboration.

Archytas, a versatile drone, can be used for both military and rescue activities. It can give situational awareness along Greece’s land and maritime borders, monitor ground vehicles, go alongside frigates, and detect unmanned marine vehicles that are moving quickly. This information was provided by Hellenic Aerospace Industry.

According to Nikos Koklas, director of research and design at Hellenic Aerospace Industry, the aircraft’s “excellent surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities manifest a perfect fit for the protection of Greek territory and islands alike.” The drone was designed to “perform these missions with minimal modifications, which can occur on the spot in the field.”

For Greece, the surveillance mission is especially crucial. The rhetoric between Athens and Ankara has recently become more acerbic as they are embroiled in a long-standing competition with Turkey, which is also a drone superpower. The airspace and territorial claims in and above the Aegean Sea have been a source of contention between the two NATO members for years.

Recep Tayyip Erdoan, the president of Turkey, hinted earlier this month that his nation would use force to obstruct its neighbor. He said: “Turkey could arrive all of a sudden one night.”

The Archytas can fly for four hours straight and travel up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) depending on the payload, according to Koklas. Its cruise speed is 120 kilometers per hour (75 mph). Despite the UAV’s lack of armament by design, users can modify it to carry light weapons up to a maximum weight of 14 kilograms (31 pounds).

Four electric propellers located on the longitudinal beam, which connects the wings to the negative-V tail, give it the capacity to take off and land vertically. Four struts are also included into the system to reduce drag and increase flight longevity. According to the company, this enables the drone to reach extremely remote areas while also enabling it to land on the decks of enormous vessels without requiring a runway.

In late October 2022, following the debut of the demonstrator prototype, an Archytas drone is scheduled to make its first flight. By December 2023, the first preproduction system is anticipated to be integrated and produced, and by March 2024, the first flight is anticipated. The Greek Armed Forces and other Greek public protection organizations will be the Archytas’ initial clients.

Koklas responded that Archytas had already “sparked the attention of several other countries than Greece, formulating an amazing commercial promise” when asked about interest from other countries in the project.


By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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