Posted 3 February 2021 in Engineering, News, Security, Space.
  • RHEA System B.V., based in the Netherlands, joins the Low Observable Tactical Unmanned Air System (LOTUS) consortium to develop, produce prototypes and test the next generation of tactical remotely piloted aircraft systems (TRPAS).
  • LOTUS is a European defence industrial development programme (EDIDP) initiative to create a Europe-wide, cyber-resilient unmanned aircraft, with a stealth design, that will contribute to the competitiveness and growth of the European Union’s defence capabilities.

RHEA Group in the Netherlands is part of a consortium recently awarded a contract worth €9.7 million by the European Commission under the EDIDP framework to design, develop, produce prototypes and test the next generation of TRPAS. LOTUS is an innovative stealth design aircraft with self-protection measures for detecting, recognizing and categorizing targets based on artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The LOTUS TRPAS will be designed to accommodate innovative features based on common operational requirements from the Ministries of Defence of Greece, Cyprus and the Netherlands.

The specification for the LOTUS programme includes the development of a TRPAS mothership that carries up to four tube-launched, foldable-wing drones. These will be deployed from the mothership to execute complex intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, while the mothership remains at a safe distance. The mothership will be designed for low observability and high endurance, incorporating multiple ISR sensors and a self-protection system against enemy threats.

Arne Matthyssen, RHEA’s Chief Solutions and Innovations Officer, commented, “RHEA is excited to contribute to this prestigious European Union defence programme. Supported in our role by the Dutch MoD, our responsibilities for the LOTUS programme include leading all the cybersecurity-related activities, including the use of our Security Aware Concurrent Design Platform (SACDP). In addition, utilizing RHEA’s heritage in space systems engineering and development, coupled with our unique Concurrent Design Platform CDP4®, we can provide a powerful design methodology for this complex multidisciplinary programme, for both the avionics and ground station design.

“The Dutch Ministry of Defence has contributed to the operational requirements for LOTUS and plans to closely monitor the progress of the programme, having taken note of our involvement as a Dutch company in the consortium.”

Funded by the Greek Ministry of Defence (MoD), LOTUS will contribute to the competitiveness and growth of the European Union’s defence capabilities. The programme’s industrial coordinator is the Greek company INTRACOM DEFENSE, with RHEA managing all activities relating to cybersecurity, as well as supporting the system engineering phases. The programme started in December 2020 and is scheduled for completion in 2024.

Press contact: i.roels@rheagroup.com