microdrones MD4-1000 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Germany

The MD4-1000 UAV was flown for 25 minutes using GPS waypoint navigation across the Alps in June 2013.

The MD4-1000 is a miniaturised vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) intended to meet the mission needs of military, police, security, and civil authorities.

It can be deployed in search and rescue, border surveillance, reconnaissance, environmental protection, disaster assessment, aerial survey and mapping, anti-terrorist operations, coordination and command, firefighting, drug interdiction, and anti-poaching missions.

The UAV, designed and manufactured by microdrones, a company based in Germany, was launched in 2010. It features increased operational endurance and payload capabilities. It performed a 25-minute test flight using GPS waypoint navigation across the Alps in June 2013.

The UAV was flown to a range of 12km under difficult atmospheric conditions during the test. Microdrones' VTOL UAV family also includes MD-200 and MD4-3000.

Orders and deliveries of MD4-1000 UAV

"The UAV, designed and manufactured by microdrones, a company based in Germany, was launched in 2010."

The Chinese Police received a MD4-1000 quadrotor UAV in 2014. The drones were used by the Belgian Royal Military Academy (RMA) for the assessment of damages caused by the natural disaster in Bosnia and Herzegovina in May 2014.

The unmanned air systems are also in service with the Interior Minister of Saxony, Harbin Public Security Bureau, and Chinese Armed Police.

MD4-1000 quadrotor design and features

MD4-1000 quadrotor micro aerial vehicle is made of carbon fibre housing materials. It offers low maintenance and operating costs, and has lower air turbulence. It can be protected from rain and dust. The robust and weather tolerant design allows it to carry out missions in critical environmental conditions.

The unmanned aircraft system (UAS) performs take-off and landing vertically, and can be operated either manually by a remote controller or automatically using GPS waypoint navigation software developed by microdrones. It can be carried on lightweight vehicles.

The UAV has a length of 1.3m and a maximum take-off weight of 6kg.

Recommended payload capacity is 800g, whereas maximum payload capacity is 1.2kg. The UAS is installed with a 22.2V, 6S2P 12.2Ah high efficient battery.

An attitude, height and heading reference system (AAHRS) aboard the UAV provides attitude and heading information. The structural parts and electronic components of the vehicle are heat-resistant up to 130°C.

Payloads onboard the MD4-1000 UAV

The Skate small unmanned aerial system (SUAS) designed and manufactured by Aurora Flight Sciences is suitable for military, law enforcement and civil applications.

Microdrones' MD4-1000 can be equipped with a variety of payload sensors for capturing imagery and video under different lighting conditions.

A modular payload design allows for installation of camera systems such as TetraCam ADC Lite multispectral and NIR camera, daylight video camera, FLIR Tau 320 thermal camera, high-quality photo and video cameras, low visibility camera, and Tetracam Mini-MCA sensors.

The UAV also features microdrones' mdLaserScan module, which helps perform high-precision scan of the terrain. A micro-SD card is also provided to record sensor data during the flight.

Ground control station

The base station, developed by microdrones, uses mdCockpit application software to monitor and control the flights of the UAV. All telemetry data collected by the drone is transmitted to the downlink decoder in the station. Flight planning is performed by the Waypoint Editor module. The man-portable base station weighs 8kg.

Performance of MD4-1000

The MD4-1000 VTOL UAV is equipped with four brushless motors and CFD optimised propellers. It operates at a speed of 12m/s, and can climb at a rate of 7.5m/s. The drone can reach altitudes of up to 1km, and has a range of 500m in fly-by-remote control mode.

Range can be extended up to 40km using GPS waypoint navigation, and flight endurance is 88 minutes.

The UAV can withstand a maximum humidity of 90%, heat of up to 50°C, and cold environments of up to -20°C.

Defence Technology