Tellumat’s ASTUS aces first CAA flight in tough conditions


Tellumat, a leading South African provider of defence and security technologies, announced that its ASTUS unmanned aerial system (UAS) has successfully completed a series of flight trials under SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) regulations.

Willie Malan, Support & Services Manager at Tellumat Defence & Security, says the ASTUS unmanned aerial system (UAS) flight team is back home after successfully carrying out various test flights over the Overberg region of South Africa.

“Flying under the SACAA’s RPAS [Remotely Piloted Aircraft System] regulations for the first time, all flight operations took place with assistance from and under cover of UAV Industries’ RPAS Operators Certificate,” Malan says.

Challenging conditions

Due to poor weather conditions, many of the flights encountered strong winds, freezing temperatures and various layers of cloud cover. But this did not deter the flight team and the UAS was able to cope with all the conditions faced, he adds.

Excellent results

Malan says many flight milestones were achieved, including successfully climbing to 16,000 feet above sea level and maintaining cruise speeds varying from 50 to as much as 90 knots.

At all times, two live video channels transmitted feeds to the ground station. The Tellumat XTP30 optical training payload provides one of these video channels.

Malan says take-off performance was excellent, using less than 150 meters of runway, and the efficient braking system allowed landings to be completed within the same distance.

“The flight test campaign thus far has proven the ASTUS UAS to be a very stable platform for sensor deployment,” he adds.

The star of the show

First unveiled at the African Aerospace & Defence Expo in September 2018, ASTUS is Tellumat’s first foray into full-scale UAS systems provision.

“Before that, Tellumat developed, manufactured and supported market-leading UAS sub-systems for more than 30 years,” says Shirley McLean, Managing Executive, Tellumat Defence & Security.

“With UAS demand taking off worldwide, ASTUS has allowed Tellumat to step up with high-end UAS performance in a medium sized, cost-effective package.”

ASTUS is a medium-sized, medium-range tactical surveillance UAS system, suitable for lengthy missions requiring real-time surveillance data collection and delivery for a variety of missions such as border and coastal security, environmental protection, and peacekeeping. It can also be used in the training of UAS pilots for beyond line of sight operations of larger UASs.

The system integrates an aircraft, ground control system and camera payload capability, in a high-performance surveillance package that is robust, durable, easily transported, quick to deploy and easy to operate.


“The significance for us of our first full CAA-vetted flight cannot be overstated,” says Andrew Connold, CEO of the Tellumat Group.

“The design, development, completion and now proven success of the ASTUS UAS has taken some 4 years, after many more years of building up the necessary technical expertise and market credentials.”

“We are delighted with its success and believe it will help to further entrench South Africa and Tellumat’s position in the global UAS/UAV industry.”