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UAV Research at the Portuguese Air Force

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  • Visitor Seminars
When Apr 20, 2012
from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Where ENGR. IV Bldg., Maxwell Rm. 57-124
Contact Name
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Ana Lesiàrio

Portuguese Air Force Academy



In the future, the operation of UAS will be a reality for the majority of the Armed Forces and the Portuguese Air Force will not be an exception.  This is not, however, a foreseen scenario for the short term. Starting of an operational use of UAS requires considerable initial investment (system acquisition, formation and training…) and change of existing operating philosophies, and this is not a priority due to current financial limitations. Nevertheless, the preparation work for the inevitable mission scenarios with UAVs has already started, mostly through the R&T Project on UAVs (PITVANT) developed by the Portuguese Air Force Academy and the School of Engineering of Porto University. The main goal of this project is to acquire know-how in the operation of UAS as an integrated system network, which is achieved by: development of new concepts of operation, low cost platform design and construction, integration of existing and developed technologies, testing and validation in operational environment (for which the Air Force has unique conditions) and formation and training on operations and maintenance. Research areas include, among others:  cooperative control, target tracking, obstacle avoidance and multisensor fusion.  Work developed has already caught the attention of potential users such as the Navy, Army and Police, who now start to realize the value UAS bring to their mission, and see PITVANT as a good platform to test their concepts of operation. Due to the field experienced gained with PITVANT, new challenges have arisen, namely European projects for specific applications of Unmanned Air Systems.



Ana Lesiário entered the Portuguese Air Force Academy in 2003 and concluded her studies as an Aeronautical Engineer in 2009. This included an MSc degree project at the Automatic Control Lab at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden, in collaboration with the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), on “Parametric Studies on UAV Flying Qualities”.


Since 2010, she teaches Propulsion, Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics at the Portuguese Air Force Academy, and is one of the researchers of the R&T UAVs project PITVANT.  She is to start her doctoral studies this year, at KTH’s Automatic Control Lab and FOI in Sweden.

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