Espreso. Global
Infographics

Vector UAVs - German drones for difficult weather conditions, used by Armed Forces of Ukraine and US Special Forces

18 February, 2024 Sunday
21:22

In late January, German drone manufacturer Quantum-Systems handed over a hundred Trinity mapping drones to Ukraine free of charge. However, Quantum's cooperation with the Ukrainian Defence Forces began much earlier, when the German manufacturer started supplying Ukraine's Armed Forces with Vector UAVs, drones for reconnaissance operations in difficult weather conditions

Espreso explains the features of Vector drones, their advantages, characteristics and how these drones influence the course of events at the front. 

The article is about:

  • What is a Vector UAV?
  • How the Vector UAV works?
  • Technical characteristics of Vector drones
  • Vector UAVs in Ukraine
  • How Vector was improved and who uses it?

What is a Vector UAV?

Work on Vector drones began in 2018, and the UAVs were launched in 2020. Initially, the Vectors were designed for industrial use, but the military soon became interested in the drones and began using them for surveillance and reconnaissance.

Vector is a fixed-wing drone that can both take off and land vertically. Therefore, the UAV does not require a launch catapult or a runway. Despite its considerable size (the Vector's wingspan is 2.8 m), it can be launched by hand, and no net or parachute is required for landing.

"The Vector system comes in an 8.2kg transport bag that can be carried by one person. According to Quantum-Systems, it takes only two minutes to set up the UAV for flight. The ability to operate in the most difficult terrain combined with an extremely low noise level (engine shutdown mode) makes Vector suitable for aerial reconnaissance operations," says Militarnyi portal.

Vector can travel at speeds of up to 72 km/h and in wind speeds of up to 12 m/s. It can stay in the air for up to two hours. 

The ground system is integrated into a tablet computer, which allows full control of the aircraft and storage of all data obtained by sensors.

"It is equipped with optical and infrared sensors and can operate around the clock, transmitting information in real time. It is able to identify objects and transmit data to the operator in encrypted form over a range of up to 15 km, and up to 25 km when using an additional station. At the same time, the UAV's developers have built into the Vector the ability to broadcast video to ground stations in real time in combat missions," reads an article about the Vector by ArmyInform.

The drone also has advanced artificial intelligence capabilities for data analysis. The developers claim that the algorithms built into Vector allow it to automatically identify objects and immediately transmit critical intelligence information to the ground. 

How the Vector UAV works?

The primary objectives of the Vector include reconnaissance and artillery fire adjustment. The drone's engine is designed to operate with near-silence, minimizing the risk of detection by the enemy. The Vector is called one of the best UAVs of its type. 

"The mathematical definition of a vector is very well suited to the UAV of the same name by Quantum-Systems. It can be pointed in any direction: up, forward or down. Vertical take-off, energy-efficient long-range flight on a fixed wing and vertical landing: everything is automatic, no pilot or operator is required," ArmyInform describes.

Vector is also called a 2-in-1 drone. This means that the drone can be transformed into a multi-copter, which expands the range of tasks of the device. The conversion doesn't even require tools, just remove the wings and tail section and install brackets with vertical lift screws. The resulting tricopter drone, called Scorpion, is 1 kilogram lighter than the Vector and can fly for 35 minutes at a maximum speed of 54 km/h.

The drone is powered by electric motors and three rotors mounted on the ends of the wing and tail. In the Vector configuration, the drone has two rigid wings and a tail attached to a fibreglass and Kevlar. Two screws on the wings and one on the tail allow the drone to take off and land, and during flight, they can be turned to increase the lift of the wings. In the Scorpion mode, the wings and tail are replaced by three holders with vertical propellers, allowing the drone to be flown like a regular multicopter. 


Technical characteristics of Vector drones

  • Wingspan - 2.8 m,
  • Maximum take-off weight - 7.4 kg,
  • Flight radius - 15 km (with a possible increase to 25 km),
  • Flight time - up to 2 hours,
  • Cruising speed - up to 25 m/s,
  • Payload weight - depends on the modification (10% of the drone's weight),
  • Dimensions of the transport case: 0.85 x 0.47 x 0.028 m.
  • Price - EUR 180,000-200,000 .

Vector UAV in Ukraine

The initial deployment of Vectors took place in Ukraine during the spring of 2022, driven by the military administration of the Dnipropetrovsk region. Consul Dmytro Shevchenko helped in facilitating connections with the manufacturers.

"The Vector drone with vertical take-off and landing and the HD-40LV optical-location station with laser rangefinder is a state-of-the-art drone that has a big advantage over any Russian drones of this class. It is a worthy competitor for Ukrainian Leleka-100 and Polish Fly Eye-3," wrote Yuriy Butusov, editor-in-chief of Censor.Net at the time.

Later, Kyiv also began to supply Vectors. The first batch of 33 drones proved to be highly effective on the battlefield. The German drones were tested in Ukraine in the Luhansk region, where Vector helped to destroy a Russian crossing point in 2022 near Bilohorivka. The Ukrainian Armed Forces prevented attempts to cross the river and destroyed dozens of weapons and military equipment of the Russian occupying forces.

"Vector was able to adjust its fire through the smoke in the face of electronic warfare," said Matthias Lehna, Business Development Manager at Quantum-Systems.

"Since then, the system has been able to demonstrate unprecedented performance in the most challenging environments. The Vector has been widely used and intensively tested on the Ukrainian battlefield, where it has proven its worth for military intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations. Its rugged design makes it suitable for operation in harsh environments and extreme weather," Quantum-Systems said in a statement in spring 2023. At that time, the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine announced another batch of 105 Vectors funded by the German government. 

In addition, in 2023, Quantum Systems entered Ukraine directly. The Germans announced the opening of service training, support, and logistics centres in Ukraine.The centres taught operators how to use and maintain Vector systems. The support centres also specialise in the purchase of spare parts for drones and drone repair. According to Quantum, it takes 4 days to train a Vector UAV operator.

If spare parts for Vector drones are produced in Ukraine in 2024, the company plans to fully assemble these UAVs in the country in 2025.

"To implement these plans, we have rented a space of several thousand square metres for our production, research and development team. We plan to have about 40 specialists working on this project," said representatives of Quantum.

In the summer of 2023, Ukraine ordered the largest batch of Vector reconnaissance drones to date - 300 systems. It is not known exactly how many UAVs have already been delivered to the Ukrainian Defence Forces - this information is classified.

How Vector was improved and who uses it?

The use of drones in Ukraine has also helped to improve these drones. The New York Times wrote that at some point, Vectors "started falling from the sky" on the battlefield. The manufacturer's specialists found out that this was because the Russians jammed the signals that connected the drones to satellites, causing the machines to lose their way and fall to the ground.

As a result, Quantum-Systems created new software based on artificial intelligence. It "supports and provides navigation without the use of GNSS." Vector also added a manual control option. The German company has even built a service centre that will "monitor electronic attacks in Russia", the NYT writes.

The Militarnyi portal also reported that the quality of Vectors was highly appreciated in the United States. The US Department of Defence chose the US subsidiary of German Quantum as a promising manufacturer of reconnaissance UAVs for the US Special Operations Forces.

The US Special Operations Command has allocated $20 million to increase the company's Vector drone production capacity in the United States. 

Tags:
Read also:
  • News
2024, Friday
12 April
14:23
OPINION
2040. Truce scenarios and their deadlines
14:05
Russian invaders hold captive over 1,000 residents of occupied Zaporizhzhia region
13:47
Russia claims Ukrainian drone crashes into Belgorod administrative building
13:27
UK considers sending prototypes of DragonFire laser weapons to Ukraine — Shapps
13:17
Exclusive
Kh-69 missile deemed more dangerous than Kinzhal used in Trypilska TPP strike: explained by military expert
13:00
Review
Attack of the Drones: All about Ukrainian UAV strikes on Russian airfields, significance and consequences
12:44
Updated
Russian media report drone attack on Novoshakhtinsk refinery, Defense Ministry reports on air defense operations
12:32
German Ambassador to Ukraine visits Zaporizhzhia
12:16
Updated
Russian missile attack on Odesa region on April 10: death toll rises to 6
12:00
OPINION
NATO's limited humanitarian contingent in Ukraine is realistic
11:40
UN announces "existential threat" to Ukraine
11:26
Exclusive
Russian army tries to break through to Kurakhove — Ukrainian officer on Avdiivka sector
11:05
Review
Russia bolsters arsenal for striking Ukrainian targets. Serhiy Zgurets's column
10:43
Russia loses air defense system, 9 tanks and 840 soldiers per day - General Staff
10:31
"Slow but steady gains": Russia is taking advantage of Ukraine's air defense deficiencies — ISW
10:15
Estonia proposes to recognize Moscow Patriarchate as terrorist organization
10:00
Updated
Death toll from Russian ballistic missile attack on Mykolaiv on April 11 rises
09:41
Russia sends troops, navy, aviation, air defense from Far East to war against Ukraine - Ukraine’s Intelligence
2024, Thursday
11 April
21:50
Review
Victorious news of 778th day of war: Russian flag follows Russian warship in Pervomaiske, additional payments for the military at contact line
21:33
Frontline report: 53 combat clashes, majority near Bakhmut and Novopavlivka
21:10
Over 2,605 participants of “special military operation” convicted in Russia since February 2022
20:49
Lithuania provides Ukraine with new aid package
20:30
Ukraine is running out of missiles for Iris-T, Patriot air defense systems — Bild journalist
20:10
Exclusive
Defense Express explains what Russian missiles Ukrainian air defense cannot shoot down
19:50
Kharkiv region announces evacuation of families with children from 47 frontline settlements
19:30
Ukraine's Kuleba invites partners, who decide on air defense supply, to spend night in Kharkiv
19:11
Russia launches air strike on Sumy thermal power plant: details
18:51
Updated
Russian attack on Kharkiv destroys transformer substation and damages TPP
18:29
Exclusive
“Russian flag in Pervomaiske followed Russian warship": officer of 59th Brigade Tsehotskyi 
18:05
American people, Congress support aid for Ukraine - former US State Department spokesman Price
17:44
Kurganmashzavod is the only manufacturer of infantry fighting vehicles in Russia
Flood engulfs Kurgan with Russia's only IFV manufacturer that will be underwater: official map
17:23
Exclusive
Sandu on readiness for war with Russia: "We believe in Ukraine's victory and will continue to support it"
17:05
MEPs refuse discharge of EU Council budget until Ukraine receives 7 more Patriot systems
16:45
Ukrainian parliament adopts draft law on mobilization
16:24
Updated
Zelenskyy discusses defense cooperation with Czech and Romanian presidents at Three Seas Summit
16:08
Pentagon discloses $23 million SpaceX contract for Starlink in Ukraine
15:40
Ukraine will have to surrender Kharkiv in coming weeks: foreign fakes for April 11
15:20
OPINION
Russia doesn't need casus belli, it has shown everything it is capable of
14:55
Armtrac 400 mechanized demining machine
Armored vehicles demine Kharkiv region
14:37
Russia isn't going to stop at Ukraine, chronically threatens world - NATO Commander Europe Cavoli
More news