Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems – What we did not see at the 2023 Paris Air Show

Unmanned-Network[dot]com posted an insightful overview of the presence (and absence) of key remote piloted air systems (RPAS) at the Paris Air Show: “The International Paris Airshow (PAS2023) is the world’s largest aerial festival & rightfully so. The event incorporates all aspects of aerial activities. From civilian to military, fixed wing to rotary, manned & remotely piloted. It is only fair to say that at an event where billions of dollars’ worth of contracts, for the world’s largest airline fleets, are signed it is perfectly understandable that RPAS will not take the center spotlight as quite a few key players were notably not present. Still, to the writers’ opinion the show did reflect the current status of the industry.”  Selected excerpts:

“Airbus’ design for a high-end system yet relatively simple features make it a great contender for loyal wingman operations in contested environments.

“Unfortunately, the ‘me-too’ trend of VTOL capable systems based on legacy fixed wing RPAS coupled with a VTOL kit was extremely visible at PAS2023. One too many systems with compromised flight performances for the sake of vertical takeoffs and landings.
“Insitu’s FLARES solution is a worthy ‘out-of-the-box’ approach in bringing forth VTOL capabilities all the while maintaining the Integrator’s leading flight performance as a fixed wing platform.

“As written at the beginning of the article, the International Paris Airshow does not represent the RPAS industry as a whole but does reflect the general vector. This is important to state as there are excellent developments with regards to the stated requirements above but, unfortunately, are relevant to a few OEMs only recognizing the importance of the aerial platform as part of a system-of-systems. …Companies who fail to recognize this simple fact will be deemed irrelevant or, at best, more of the same.”

We highly recommend reading the original Unmanned-Network release:

Our thanks to Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, for his assistance with this report, which is a pre-release excerpt from the next edition of the UNMANNED SYSTEMS NEWS (USN). Thanks also to Alon Ben-Gal and Chen Lustig for this excellent summary and analysis. David Place distributes the USN, a free, comprehensive newsletter in PDF format every week or two, as well as serial news flashes. To be included in his distribution, simply send David a subscribe request to davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com.