Propulsion Solutions for Uncrewed Systems

Plettenberg is a leading developer and manufacturer of tailored high-end drive solutions for civil and defense UAV, UUV, USV and UGV applications. Looking for a tailored solution for your project?

Tailored propulsion solutions for demanding applications

Our tailored drive systems are unrivalled in their robustness, power-to-weight ratio, efficiency and compactness, making them suitable for heavy duty professional and defense missions in harsh environments. With more than 30 years of experience, we are among the leading suppliers to unmanned system OEMs.

Uncrewed system engineers need to solve complex problems

Our customers face numerous challenges when deciding on the ideal propulsion solution for their unmanned system application.

Find ideal propulsion solution for chosen UAV design

Robustness vs. weight

Finding the right trade-off of robustness vs. weight

Operational time

Maximize efficiency and endurance

Thermal management

Ensure that drive system does not overheat


Consider evolving regulation and certification requirements


Minimize total cost of ownership

Matching components

Choose ideal combination of motor, ESC, prop and battery


Design propulsion system with sufficient performance safety buffer


Find suppliers that can support during the entire product lifecycle

We are available to support you

Engineering support

We provide comprehensive engineering support and help our customers to find the ideal drive solution for their UAS, UAV, UGV, USV or UUV project. Our customers typically contact us early in their design phase and we help them choosing the ideal propulsion system for their design (e.g. fixed wing, multicopter, hybrid). We also provide comprehensive integration and engineering service, such as designing the propulsion unit for ideal thermal management.

Tailored solution

We spend a lot of time with our customers to understand their technical requirements, including system design, load profile, drive system integration, etc. Once we have all the data in place, we determine a customized drive solution, which provides for the highest efficiency across the entire load profile. This can lead to efficiency improvements of 15-30% at comparable size and weight. We also run simulations and provide data required to make the best decisions.


Within the uncrewed systems market, we focus on the medium to large size categories. In this segment regulatory requirements and certification are becoming increasingly important. We work closely with our customers and support them throughout this process. Often a main issue is trading off weight and endurance vs. robustness and reliability. Our products are all rugged in design (max. IP67) and built for use in harsh environments. We also offer rugged motors as weight optimized versions, which provide the best weight-to-robustness ratio in the industry.

Series production

Once the customer project moves from development/prototyping to series production, the total costs of ownership of the propulsion system become more important. While testing often works with cheaper products, customers are better off to focus on quality and reliability for series production. Reliable products will allow for longer runtimes, less maintenance, comply with strict regulatory requirements and consistency in meeting specifications. The improved efficiency from a tailored propulsion system should be added to the calculation as well.


All our propulsion systems are made-to-order and tailored to the specific requirements of our customers.

Efficiency & Endurance

We tailor our propulsion systems to the specific load profile of our customer, allowing for efficiency improvements of 15-30%.

Robustness & Reliability

We build the most rugged designs on the market (max. IP67), allowing for missions in the harshest environmental conditions.


We provide propulsion solutions including motor, ESC as well as related accessories. We also provide generator and starter solutions.


Our focus is on building the safest propulsion systems on the market and support our customers up to the certification process.

Total cost of ownership

Our focus is on building solutions that have the lowest TCO. Our tailored solutions often allow for mitigating gearboxes and other expensive parts.


All our products are manufactured in Germany according to the highest quality standards.


Drawing on our +30 years of UAV experience, we provide market leading power densities.


We support our customers through the entire product lifecycle, from early design up to series production.

Ready for a tailored propulsion system for your uncrewed system application?

Please reach out to us and our engineers will evaluate your project for potential optimization.  

Recommended Products

BLDC Inrunner

Plettenberg is the global leader in high-performance inrunner BLDC motors.


Generators and starters. Up to 15kW.

BLDC Outrunner

Plettenberg is a leading provider of high-performance outrunner BLDC motors.


Electronic motor controllers. Up to 400 V and 350 A.


Aviation Design & Plettenberg UAV Propulsion System

Plettenberg providesthe electric propulsion motor for the Spy Ranger UAV of Aviation Design

The Challenge

Aviation Design is a leading developer and manufacturer of UAVs, aerial targets, sub scale demonstrators and wind tunnel models for defense and civil applications. The company produces drones under license for major aerospace companies and is authorized by the French Ministry of Defense for building and marketing defense products. One of the flagship projects is the Thales Spy Ranger Program, a contact airborne intelligence, surveillance and security UAV system. The Spy Ranger was selected by the DGA to be operational for the French army. Aviation Design was looking for a highly robust, light weight and efficient propulsion system for the Spy Ranger. The electric motor had to be able to operate in harsh conditions, such as high altitude and extreme weather conditions, including snow and rain. The efficiency and power-to-weight ratio was also very important to support extended flight ranges.

Get our white paper on how to select the ideal propulsion systems for UAVs.


Plettenberg provides tailored drive systems, which are manufactured on a made-to-order basis. Hence, we do not have a stock of standard products. Our lead times depend  on the required engineering and customizations efforts. Most products can be delivered in a 4-10 weeks timeframe. Please reach out to our sales team for a quote.

As we do not offer standard products, we also do not have standard price lists. We first collect all information of the customers application and determine the suitable drive solution. After this we will provide you with a quote. For series production we provide attractive scale prices. Please reach out to our sales team for more information.

Plettenberg drive solutions are available in numerous configurations and power classes. Our main focus is on the medium to larger scale UAV segment, with input power of ~500 W to 50 kW.

We need detailed information on your application, such as targeted voltage, amps, rpm, thrust, load profile data, etc. If certain data points are not yet availabe, we will support you. Please reach out to our sales team and we provide you with a spec sheet, which provides a template for required data.  

We are specialists in designing high performance propulsion solutions. Our team takes a comprehensive perspective and helps you in making the right decisions, such as trading off performance vs. weight vs. robustness. In addition, we provide you with data to evaluate how much efficiency/added-value a tailored propulsion system generates for you. The end result is a solution, which precisely matches your requirements. We also support you with all other topics that come up when designing your UAV propulsion system, such as choosing the right prop, thermal management, system integration, power supply, noise, certification, etc. 

We have a lab for performing load measurements and temperature tests. For environmental tests we work with external partners.

We have long standing relationships with customers in the aerospace and defense industry. Hence, we have quality and documentation systems in place to support our customers in obtaining certifications.   

All our products are manufactured at our HQ in Germany according to the highest quality standards.

We have numerous customers in the defense and commercial market. Among our customers are leading defense primes, commercial drone OEMs, innovative start-up companies and many more.

We provide drive solutions for various types of unmanned systems. This includes airborne drone systems such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). In addition, we provide solutions for marine system, such as Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) or Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV). Lastly, we also offer drive solutions for unmanned land missions, such as Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) or robotic systems.

Yes, we have completed several successful AAM projects and we are constantly adding new projects to our pipeline. Please reach out to our sales team for more information.