Its missions for security activities, border surveillance, rescue and civil protection
Is called Guardian and it is the first drone-spy Italian solar-powered aircraft capable of flying silently to carry out long-range surveillance, control and intelligence missions. This drone it has the shape of a small airplane and, thanks to the photovoltaic cells placed on the wings, during the day it can fly autonomously without stopping for over 8 hours carrying on board a sophisticated ultra-HD camera with digital broadcast. The missions to which Guardian could be destined are in the civil and military fields for many activities, such as police and intelligence investigations, surveillance of the territory and of sensitive sites, surveillance of borders and coastal areas, rescue of natural disasters or shipwrecks, fire monitoring, patrolling areas of illegal waste dumping or even shipboard anti-piracy surveillance. Guardian was born out of two Italian hi-tech companies: Npc of Imola (Bologna), specialized in the engineering sector and in the production of microsatellites for scientific and commercial uses, and Vector Robotics of Mogliano Veneto (Treviso), a startup specialized in the design and production of innovative drones. Guardian is based on the experience gained by the two Italian companies for the FireHound Zero’ solar drone project for fire detection, introduced on the market in 2022 and which will soon be adopted by the first users of our country. “The Guardian’s flight testing activities have just concluded with excellent results, even with reduced sunlight and adverse weather conditions” confirms Gabriele Giorgini, Vector Robotics’ chief operating officer. The manager explains that “this vehicle represents a real revolution in simplification and optimization of missions in many operational scenarios and is a highly effective solution for the needs of the armed forces, police forces, rescue and civil protection organizations and for all other realities active in the security sector”. The Guardian, Giorgini also assures, “will be a very useful tool in the hands of these professionals and will certainly give them a greater chance of success than traditional means, thanks above all to its special characteristics of ease of use, absolute silence, long flight duration and sophisticated shooting and video transmission systems”.
The two ‘mother’ companies of the Guardian explain that the drone is technically built in expanded polypropylene, a very innovative solution that provides it with characteristics of lightness, strength and resistance. The small autonomous aircraft boasts very small dimensions: it has a length of 53 centimeters and a wingspan of 146 centimeters, weighs only 1.3 kilograms and on the wings it has an area of about 0.4 square meters of photovoltaic cells that recharge a battery and supply energy to the electric motor. The remotely piloted aircraft is hand-launched by a single operator and can fly at a maximum operating altitude of 5 kilometers and a cruising speed of approximately 40 kilometers per hour. The Guardian drone is also equipped with various camera options, from full-HD fixed for maximum flight range, to 4K ultra-HD Starlight with 6x digital zoom stabilized on three axes, both available immediately, and finally a very interesting EO+IR camera with auto-tracking, 40x zoom (of which 20x optical) in the visible frequency and 4x in the infrared, available from mid-2023. The aircraft uses a digital transmission system which guarantees the reception of a free of interference, allowing the collected images to be sent to the ground station, but it is also equipped with an SD memory card to record the data and then transfer them to other media after landing. In the basic version, the drone has a range of 10 kilometres, determined by the transmission range of the on-board radio but which can be increased and is capable of flying with external temperatures between -10 and +45 degrees Celsius and with winds up to 25 knots.