Tellumat launched ASTUS, its first complete unmanned aerial system (UAS), at the 2018 Africa Aerospace & Defence Expo.

Market need

With unmanned aerial system (UAS) demand taking off worldwide, the ASTUS addresses an extensive need for high-end UAS performance in a compact, cost-effective package.

As a medium-size, medium-range tactical surveillance UAS, it is suitable for lengthy day/night missions requiring real-time surveillance data collection and delivery, such as border and coastal security, environmental protection and peacekeeping.

The ASTUS can also be used in the cost-effective training of UAS crew for beyond-line-of-sight operations of larger UASs.

Technology solution

Key features:

  • 2-metre wingspan with a 92 kg maximum take-off weight including payload
  • 210 cc fuel-injected 2-stroke motor
  • 8 hours flight time at 5,000 feet above sea level
  • Operating altitude – 9,000 feet; service ceiling – 14,000 feet
  • Dash speed – 80 knots; cruising – 55-60 knots; take-off – 40 knots; stall – 33 knots
  • Visibility and air traffic safety – navigation strobe lights; landing light; Mode S & ADS-B ATC transponder; VHF Air band radio
  • Core avionics package – Tellumat-designed flight mission computer; sensor pack; health management computer; long-range C-Band video & data link system; UHF backup data link; power management unit
  • Integrated long-range secure communication link supporting full HD video & data downlink; control data uplink that exceeding 200 km line of sight.

The ASTUS UAS can accommodate various types of payloads, including a best-in-class optical/thermal payload in the standard configuration (maximum diameter 250 mm) and a Tellumat-designed training payload.

Low latency payload control and monitoring is available via the ground control station (GCS).

The modular and portable GCS can be networked to allow control of ASTUS by more than one pilot and a payload operator geographically separated across the mission area.

The ASTUS UAS is provided with all the necessary support equipment, operational spares and base spares to allow for extended operations without external support.


The ASTUS integrates all the key UAS components – aircraft, ground control system and optical payload capability – in a high-performance surveillance package that is robust, durable and easily transported. As such, it is quick to deploy and easy to operate in a wide range of missions.

Complementary to this, the system has a minimum crew requirement of only four, comprising a pilot, payload operator, safety pilot and an aircraft technician.

Already garnering export interest, the ASTUS is poised to be a foreign exchange earner for the South African economy and boosts South Africa’s place on the world UAS vendor map with a cost-effective and complimentary offering versus other established UAS systems.