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Groundbreaking OPV a new option for maritime surveillance

Line of Defence, November 2016

The Reiner Stemme Utility Air-Systems Q01 OPVThe Reiner Stemme Utility Air-Systems Q01 OPV


DIMDEX (Doha international Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference) 2016 saw the signing of an 89 million Euro MOU between Qatar’s Air Force and Reiner Stemme Utility Air-Systems (RS-UAS) for the production of a radically innovative optionally piloted vehicle (OPV). Due for delivery in early 2017, these new hybrid aircraft are set to change the face of medium-altitude long endurance maritime, land and border surveillance.

In piloted conventional aircraft mode, the Q01 accommodates up to three crew in a non-pressurised cabin operating at low altitudes of 10-15,000 feet, with a range of 1,350nm (2,500km). In this mode it fulfills EASA CS-23 and FAA rules for IFR operated single engine piston aircraft, allowing its unrestricted use in civil airspace.

In UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) mode, the Q01’s low weight construction and low fuel-burn internal combustion engine provides up to 50-hours endurance, or a range of 4,500nm (8,335km), at altitudes up to 30,000 feet. Unmanned, the aircraft can undertake dangerous or long repetitive missions in airspace where the flight of a UAS is permitted.

The Qatari Air Force aircraft will be equipped with a THALES radar and WESCAM’s MX 20 EO/ IR (electro-optical/infrared) ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) system. They will mainly be operated in maritime border control missions, and are intended to play a role in the security of Qatari oil resources and the interruption of drug and weapon smuggling operations in the Persian Gulf.


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Paul Buchanan, Chief Operations Officer of Future Aeronautical System Technologies, RS-UAS’ distribution partner in New Zealand, seas the clear potential of the Q01 platform for land and maritime surveillance within the Australasian context.

With a maritime domain defined in the recent NZ Defence White Paper as including its Exclusive Economic Zone and a search and rescue area of responsibility extending from Antarctica to the Equator, New Zealand’s own maritime surveillance needs are increasingly-flung and varied. “As activity in this domain increases,” states the White Paper, “incidents requiring a New Zealand response are more likely to occur.”

According to Buchanan, the airframe’s biggest advantage is its ability to either be manned or unmanned as required with little fuss. “Also the underwing quick change pods allow sensor loads to changed easily or put on a serviceable airframe rather than sitting in a maintenance hanger unusable”.

Possessing a 1,000 kg payload, the Q01 can carry an enormous amount of equipment, including a wide range of electronic and optical sensor systems. The fuselage can host up to 600kg of payload, with two inner and two outer pylons that can host sensors or external fuel tanks for extended range missions. An electro-optical payload is located under the pilot's cabin, and radar at the rear of the fuselage. The aircraft power plant provides 18 kW electric power supply for payloads, further 4.4 kW available for aircraft systems.

The Reiner Stemme design boasts exceptional flight performance provided by high-aspect ratio laminar wing aero-dynamics and low fuel-burn for long endurance. It can reach a speed of 190 knots (352kph), and achieve a line surveillance path of 4,500nm (8,335km). 

The Q01’s Technify/Continental 6-cylinder, 3 litre turbocharged IC 310 hp engine delivers 310 hp (228 kW) and can burn both Jet A-1 or diesel. The exhaust system is designed for minimal heat emission, which, along with its very low radar signature airframe, gives the aircraft impressive stealth attributes.



Q01 Facts:

MTOW 2,750 kg / Empty weight 1,553 kg

EASA CS23 Single IFR certification

Two crew, provision for work share

Optional piloted flight control perspective (OPV)

3,000 NM deploy (manned) to target area in one step

6-cyl V, 3l, two turbocharger CD 310 hp JET A1 engine

18 kW electrical power supply for payload

4.4 kW electrical power supply for a/c systems

Max payload fuselage 600 kg, underwing stations 360 kg

Max fuel 2 x 256 kg = 512 kg inside wing

g-forces + 3.6/–1.44


For more information about the RS-UAS Q01, visit Future Aeronautical System Technologies’ website:


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