Vietnamese company Viettel (Hall B, Stand B095) is preparing to deliver its hybrid-powered fixed-wing UAV to its domestic navy as of next month, and has a development plan to expand the capability of the aircraft into a long-endurance, weaponised platform.
Viettel is here showing for the first time outside Vietnam the Shikra, which is a 26kg UAV with a 3.25m wingspan that takes off vertically before transitioning into horizontal flight. The Vietnamese navy plans to begin operating Shikra from land, but it is expected that it will eventually expand this to ship-based operations, enabled by the vertical take-off and landing electric motors on the UAV.
This variant has a two-hour endurance, but the company is planning the development of two more versions, one with a 5-6m wingspan that will be able to operate for 10 hours, and one with a 20m wingspan that will be able to operate for 20 hours at ranges up to 150km.
Shikra and the mid-sized system have line-of- sight operations, while the larger one will be satellite communications controlled and fully autonomous. Additionally, the larger version will be able to carry weapons, while the smaller versions are surveillance UAVs. The largest one is entering development now, and will be ready by 2022, Than Hoang Ha, sales executive for the company’s Viettel Aerospace Institute, told the Show Daily.
Newer versions will have a new composite structure and more efficient powerplants, he added, noting that all of the design work is Vietnamese.
The company also has its Hummer quadcopter UAV on display, a system with a one-hour endurance, 10km range and 1kg payload capacity.