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Air Platforms

ADEX 2017: South Korea showcases unmanned solutions

16 October 2017

South Korean defence contractors have put unmanned aircraft systems (UASs)/unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at the forefront of their exhibits at this year’s Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition (ADEX), as they look to showcase technologies and developments for a number of requirements for the Korean armed forces.

KAL-ASD's KUS-VT tiltrotor was one of a number of unmanned aircraft displayed at ADEX 2017 as South Korea showcased its domestic aerospace capabilities. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)KAL-ASD's KUS-VT tiltrotor was one of a number of unmanned aircraft displayed at ADEX 2017 as South Korea showcased its domestic aerospace capabilities. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)

Korean Air Aerospace Division (KAL-ASD) and Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) have each showcased a range of fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and tiltrotor UAS offerings that have been developed for the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) and the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).

Concepts displayed by KAL-ASD comprised the Korean Unmanned System (KUS)-VH unmanned Little Bird helicopter, KUS-FT fixed-wing tactical UAS, KUS-FS medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAS, KUS-VT tiltrotor UAS KUS-FC ‘stealth’ unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), and KUS-HD Hybrid Drone multicopter UAS.

While no performance specifications for the developmental KUS-VH have been publically disclosed, those for the RoKA-fielded KUS-FT give a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 150 kg a maximum speed of 200 km/h, and a cruise speed of 130 km/h. This tactical UAS has a 4.5 m-wingspan and is powered by a single 35hp rotary engine. The KUS-FS MALE UAS has a 25 m wingspan and a single 1,200hp engine, while its performance figures have not been published. The KUS-VT is 5.2 m in width (including the wingtip mounted 55hp rotary engines and proprotors)and has an MTOW of 200 kg a payload of 30 kg, a maximum speed of 250 km/h a cruise speed of 200 km/h a service ceiling of approximately 15,000 ft, a range of up to 200 km, and an endurance if 6 hours. While the KUS-FC stealth UCAV has been disclosed to have a wingspan of 16 m, the only performance specification to be revealed for the turbojet aircraft is its 6 hour endurance. Specifications for the KUS-HD comprise a 2 m x 2 m footprint, an MTOW of 38 kg, a maximum speed of 70 km/h, a service ceiling of just over 3,000 ft, a range of up to 10 km, and an endurance of two hours.

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