Intracom's new Greek LOTUS drone, like the Turkish Kargu-2, could participate in the destruction of targeted individuals.
The LOTUS, a future European tactical UAV
Presented in November 2020 by the Kokkalis family, owners of Greek giant Intracom Defence (IDE), this program is called LOTUS (Low Observable Tactical Unmanned System). It aims to create a tactical intelligence drone. This project has received 9.7 million euros in support from the European Commission, as part of the European Defense Industrial Development Program (EDIP) support fund. Mainly developed by the Greek DTIB with the help of Spanish, Dutch and Cypriot industrialists, the program will last 45 months. Its specifications being strict, it will require secure communications to NATO standards, a STAND-OFF capability, and extensive use of artificial intelligence. As a sign of the times, it will also have an open cyber architecture.
A stealthy mini-UAV door
Intracom will be able to draw on its experience. It has already developed the OURANOS, RPAS and HCUAV-RX1 drones, and the DELAER-RX3 is scheduled to make its first flight this year... Conceived and designed as a tactical UAV specialized in SRI, the LOTUS is equipped with innovative technologies. Featuring stealthy shapes, the LOTUS system will comprise the mother ship and 4 mini-UAVs with foldable wings embarked in an internal cargo bay. But despite a laudatory presentation, the information available about it is lacking (dimensions, engines, payloads, types of ISR payloads). But according to our information, the wingspan of this UAV could reach 9m and the University of Patras has reportedly developed an algorithm dedicated to the LOTUS' management of a swarm of mini-UAVs, which would initially have ISR loads (EO/IR, Sigint) interacting with the mother platform.
Towards the executing robots
No information was leaked about a possible arms shipment either. However, presented again at IDEX21, during which it was visited by the Israeli ambassador, Intracom representatives mentioned a chromosome marked for "High Valuable Targets" operations. A term used in the special operations world to designate terrorist leaders or critical political/military authorities. The work done on UAV stealth seems to show that the UAV would rather be designed to penetrate protected enemy airspace, which is rarely the case in areas where terrorists operate. Moreover, while Turkish UAV operations during the conflict in Armenia or over Cyprus have moved Greek public opinion in recent weeks, Ankara's effort to have its DITB cover all segments of armed UAVs (Alpagu, Anka, TB2) or reconnaissance UAVs (Aksungur, Turna, Keklik, Malazgirt, Togan, etc.) worried Greek forces. In particular, the arrival of 500 specimens of the Kargu-2 kamikaze drone, very much inspired by the American Switchblade, but which above all includes a facial recognition system to eliminate targeted individuals. If Athens were to respond to isoperimeter, the LOTUS would be particularly indicated. But it is for the moment too early to know if the future developments of the LOTUS will have for vocation to carry mini suicide drones like the Israeli HERO ....
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