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DSA 2024 : Pen Aviation unveils Pen 35 last born of Reco UAV.

At DSA 2024, Pen Aviation unveiled the latest member of its family of fixed and rotary wing unmanned aerial systems, the PEN35, available in both fully electric and hybrid versions. Founded in Malaysia in 2016, Pen Aviation specializes in customized solutions for the aviation market and began designing and producing UAS under the Pen UAS brand in 2019.
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Presentation of Pen35 at DSA 2024 in Malaysia (Picture source: Army Recognition)

To date, the company's portfolio included two rotary-wing models, the fixed-wing PEN 55Vone, a helicopter-type aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of 55 kg and a payload of 15 kg, and the much larger PEN 1360, where the name also indicates the takeoff weight, with a payload of 770 kg at full fuel. A fixed-wing model with VTOL capabilities, the PEN 23, comes in two models, VE and VH, with electric and hybrid propulsion respectively, and a maximum weight of 23 kg. The Pen 23 has already received an order from a military client, which the company declined to mention.

Two propulsion systems are also offered for the new family member, the PEN 35, which has a clear maximum takeoff weight of 35 kg. The PEN 35's architecture is very similar to that of the PEN 23, featuring an aerodynamic fuselage, high carbon and fiberglass wings, and a double tail beam. However, the tailplane layout is different; the smaller airframe has a sort of inverted V structure while the PEN 35 features a horizontal plan with vertical rudders. The propulsion group providing forward thrust when the aircraft flies aerodynamically is located at the rear of the fuselage, powering a two-blade propeller; under each of the booms, which extend in front of the wing, are two rotors each powered by an electric motor, the four providing sufficient lift for takeoff and landing. A four-legged landing gear ensures enough ground clearance to keep the rotors off the ground and provide adequate distance for potential optronic payloads, the prototype exhibited at DSA being in a fully clean configuration.

The PEN 35 measures 2360 mm in length, 700 mm in height, and has a wingspan of 3920 mm. It carries a useful payload of 8 kg and can fly at a maximum speed of 140 km/h, with a cruising speed between 90 and 125 km/h, and up to an altitude of 5,000 meters. Endurance varies between the VE electric and VH hybrid configurations; the former lasts 3.5 hours while the latter, which includes a thermal engine for forward propulsion, reaches up to 8 hours. It can also be equipped with a 400 W alternator to handle energy-intensive payloads. The standard data link ensures an operational range of 40 km, but a range of 100 km can be achieved using a different link.

The PEN 35 ground mobile control station weighs 25 kg and measures 1199 x 419 x 234 mm. It is designed to minimize human workload, with all functions including takeoff and landing automated. The PEN 35 is certified SAIL II thanks to its redundant system architecture and can thus fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). Four levels of data transfer system (DTS) are available, the main one being based on RF with frequencies selectable by customers to comply with local requirements, a backup DTS based on SATCOM, an emergency DTS based on RF operating on 868 MHz or 433 MHz, and finally a safety DTS operating on 2.4 GHz, the latter being optional. The PEN 35 is equipped with a flight termination system with a safety parachute.

The PEN 35 is proposed for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions, search and rescue, security, mapping, or cargo delivery. It can be equipped with several types of gimbaled electro-optical sensor suites. DGMIND SAS France, a spin-off of Pen Aviation specializing in digital solutions aimed at automating operational processes of UAS, provides the ADATMMA module (Automatic Detection And Tracking of Multiple Moving Assets) that enables the detection and tracking of multiple targets simultaneously with real-time geolocation. Three different ADATMMA packages based on AI are available, respectively for land, maritime, and search and rescue missions. The PEN 35 can be equipped with a phone locator, a loudspeaker, self-inflating floats, and other types of payloads.

During the DSA show, Pen Avionics signed a memorandum of understanding with Safran Electronics and Defense. Thanks to this strategic alliance, both entities will be able to define work-sharing elements for the integration of Safran's airborne optronic systems, Euroflir 410, on the PEN UAS systems, including the PEN1360V, and explore opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation.

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