The company Tekplus Aerospace, with its headquarters in Vigo (Pontevedra) and with 100% Galician capital has created, designed, and fabricated an unmanned helicopter that is three metres long and has a maximum take-off weight of approximately 80 kilograms. This device is principally designed for monitoring and vigilance both in the defence sector as well as the civil sector.


Marcos Carrera, stated that this aerial system with rotating wings named ‘Centauro’ serves the various missions of detecting forest fires, controlling contraband activity, and various uses in the agricultural sector such as the dispersion of chemical products.

This air vehicle is equipped with gyrostabilised cameras that transmit normal and infrared images simultaneously and real time. The system can operate autonomously for between four and six hours (as a function of the fuel load or the sensors that are incorporated) and can reach a height of 3,500 metres.

Among the principle advantages of the system that was presented in Brazil in Spring of 2011 is the ease of management of the aircraft and the simple maintenance requirements. But one of its strongest points is that the flight hours of ‘Centauro’ are very effective in terms of cost and, as a consequence, it is highly competitive on the international market.

The lines of assistance from public entities were key for the development of this helicopter. They included funding sources such as the Regional Government of Galicia (via a participative credit of 850,000 Euros from XesGalicia) as well as the Government of the State that subsidised the initiative through the Centre for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI) with 1.33 million Euros from the European Technological Fund. It is important to point out that ‘Centauro’ is considered by the Ministry of Science and Innovation to be a significant aeronautical strategy. The case of Tekplus Aerospace is a good example of how targeted technology can acquire added value by taking advantage of the experience and the knowledge in the environment around them.

Innovation is absolutely fundamental and it is clear what we are betting on it because the the company that innovates in times of crisis will surely recuperate the investment in times of economic splendour”. Marcos Carrera


They collaborate with companies in the mechanics sector of Vigo for the fabrication of these unmanned aeronautic vehicles which permits them to take advantage of the valued know how of their titanium welders. Carrera indicated that “we contribute the engineering and the knowledge but we apply that to the great experience within the metalmechanical sector within our environment.” In this sense, the President of the company pointed out that approximately 90% of the product is made in Galicia with only a small portion related to the air vehicle navigation system being produced outside of the community. Their satisfaction with the experience leads them to collaborate today with Galician companies of the naval and automotive sectors in order to sell complete systems of integral vigilance.

During 2012, they will begin marketing the helicopter on which they have been working since they opened their R&D area in 2008 for the development of projects for unmanned systems. In 2011, the adaptation was completed and the last touches made while they now take note of the intentions to buy from diverse organisations, completing a calendar that guarantees a work load until the end of 2012.

In addition to the ‘Centauro’, the Galician company also offers services of engineering, design, and the calculus of aero-­structures for the aeronautical sector. In fact, they are level 2 providers for builders of airplanes such as Airbus and they also work for one of their principal rivals, Boeing. The line of air structures of Tekplus Aerospace increased annual billing some 40% at the same time that they generated 45 job positions. Carrera believes that what explains that the Galician factory was able to achieve collaboration with the Airbus A320, A350, A380, A330MRTT, and A400M is a very good selection of “human resources and engineers, as well as significant savings regarding project development that turn out to be very competitive and close to the client.”

The company began in 2005 and was oriented to the aerospace and the automotive sectors. In the automotive line, they developed motor casings that are patented, in collaboration with the University of Vigo and entities such as the Technological Centre AIMEN. In addition, they collaborated on diverse projects with the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA). Today, they also pertain to the cluster of the Spanish Technology of Defence, Aeronautics, and Space (TEDAE). Tekplus Aerospace has three national headquarters (O Porriño, Madrid and Seville) and an affiliate in India, created with the objective of minimising costs.

A demonstration of the importance of innovation is that they have a specific R&D&I department made up of 15 persons with very varied profiles. The 2 million Euros of annual investment in innovation also makes their compromise to put new ideas on the market very clear. In fact, Tekplus invested almost double of what they billed during 2010 into R&D&I. Marcos Carrera highlighted that innovation is “intrinsic to our company” at the same time that it is incorporated into all of the processes, from quality to those of personnel selection. They are now working on other versions of the ‘Centauro’ with different diameters of rotors and maximum weights at take-off of up to 200 kilos which suppose a new step in the continual innovation of Tekplus.