This paper presents the hardware design and integration process employed to develop an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) helicopter. The design process evolves from the bare airframe (without any electronics), to become a complete and advanced UAS platform for remote sensing applications. The improvements, design decisions and justifications are described throughout the paper. Two airframes have been used during the design and integration process: the AF25B model and the more advanced AF30 model, from the Copterworks company. The airframe engine reliability and fuel economy have been improved by adding an Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) and Capacitor Discharge Ignition (CDI), both managed by an Engine Control Unit (ECU). On-board power supply generation and regulation have also been designed and validated. Finally, the integration process incorporates on-board mission computation to improve the concept of operation in remote sensing applications. Several flight tests have been performed to verify the reliability of the whole system. The flight test results demonstrate the correct process of integration and the feasibility of the UAS.
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