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AAD 2022: Denel debuts Loki aerial target

The Loki is to be developed as a technology demonstrator. (Janes/Akshara Parakala)

Making its debut at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2022 expo in South Africa was a mock-up of Denel Aerospace Systems' high-speed recoverable aerial target, Loki.

Under development driven by the requirements of the Armaments Corporation of South Africa (ARMSCOR), the procurement agency of the South African Department of Defence (DoD), and the South African Air Force (SAAF), Loki is to be developed as a technology demonstrator.

The target is envisaged to simulate a high-speed threat during surface-to-air and air-to-air ground, air, and ship-based weapons systems. The Loki weights 180 kg, has an endurance of 60–80 min, and can be controlled from a control system from a range of 60 km. The range however could be increased with the use of RF communicator relay station.

Loki is launched using a hydro-pneumatic launcher designed by South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and recovered using a parachute. The target is fitted with two infrared emitters in the wings, a Luneburg lens on the nose to enhance the radar cross-section signature, strobe light or smoke trail, and flame throwers.

It features high tapered-wings with H-tail having a wingspan of 2.45 m and a fuselage length of 3.2 m. Loki is powered by two rear-mounted 400 N TJ40-G1 turbojet engines, enabling it to attain a maximum speed of 340 kt and achieve a maximum altitude of 26,000 ft (AMSL) with 38 kg payload weight.

The first flight test of Loki target is expected to take place at Denel Overberg Test Range in March 2023. As of September 2022 two prototypes are under production.

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