Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) announced that the Night Intruder 600 VT vertical take-off and landing unmanned aerial vehicle (VTOL UAV) had successfully performed its maiden flight in South Jeolla province on 24 September.
The air vehicle is an internally funded development derived from a 600 kg-class two-seat light helicopter and is the company's first attempt at developing a VTOL UAV.
KAI officials earlier told Jane's that the Night Intruder 600 VT has an overall length of 9 m, width of 2 m, and height of 2.5 m. Although configured with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 600 kg, future development could see the air vehicle grow to over 750 kg as the programme matures.
Development of the Night Intruder 600 VT began in 2017 and it was exhibited for the first time in public at the DX Korea exhibition in November 2018. KAI then acquired a Special Airworthiness Certificate from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport in July and a flight permit from Busan Regional Aviation Administration in August in accordance with Aviation Safety Act to pave the way for its maiden flight.
KAI is aiming to complete the first-phase development of the air vehicle by the end of the year. Further work to advance its automatic take-off and landing system is expected to begin imminently in the second developmental phase.
Jane's earlier reported that the air vehicle is typically equipped with a chin-mounted stabilised electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) turret with high-definition daylight and thermal cameras. Other mission payloads being planned include a laser rangefinder or designator, as well as a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system.
The company is intending to pitch the Night Intruder 600 VT to meet a forthcoming Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) VTOL UAV requirement.
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