ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish engineering company Titra has been picked to receive government subsidies for its ambition to produce the country’s first unmanned helicopter, the Alpin.
The Ankara government has put the program on its “regional priority investment list.” This means the program will be supported by government incentives.
Titra said it will produce 10 Alpins a year, in addition to 250 kamikaze drones.
“The government will be the buyer upon successful field tests, hoping that, once combat-proven, the system will be exported to friendly countries,” one procurement official said.
The long-range Alpin helicopter can be used for both military and civilian purposes as well as for rescue missions. The Alpin’s design is based on the manned Italian Heli-Sport CH-7 ultralight chopper.
The development of the aircraft dates back to 2019 when Titra signed a deal with UAVOS, a drone specialist that lists a U.S. location on its website, along with offices in Canada, Spain and Switzerland. Under the deal Titra and UAVOS would convert CH-7s into dual-purpose, rotary-wing unmanned aircraft. The Alpin made its first flight in 2020.
The helicopter has a length of 7 m, a width of 1.5 m, a height of 2.35 m and a rotor diameter of 6.28 m. It has an empty weight of 340 kg and can be easily transported in a vehicle. The unmanned helicopter can carry a maximum payload of 200 kg including fuel.
The Alpin unmanned helicopter can carry multiple payloads, and transmit real-time information to the operators. It features a wideband satellite communication channel that supports operations in remote areas.
Alpin’s other features include a fully redundant autopilot system aboard the aircraft, fully autonomous take-off and landing system, remote ground control network capability, autorotation landing capability and high efficiency flight control.
Its high-precision payloads include hyper-spectral, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) cameras.
The Alpin is powered by Rotax 914 UL engine with a power output of 115 hp. Its maximum cruise speed is 160 km/h.
The Alpin has a maximum range of 840 km and can fly at altitudes of up to 5,000 m. Its maximum endurance is seven hours, or two hours when fully loaded.
Burak Ege Bekdil is the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.