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ADEX 2021: LIG Nex1 unveils heavy-lift UAV development

LIG Nex1 unveiled its KCD-200 unmanned aerial vehicle development at ADEX 2021. (Dae Young Kim)

South Korean defence prime LIG Nex1 is showcasing its new heavy-lift unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) concept at the 2021 edition of Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX), being held from 19 to 24 October.

LIG Nex1 unveiled a model of the KCD-200 heavy-lift UAV, which is being developed to meet defence and commercial logistics requirements. The effort leverages on the company's experience in UAV development and systems integration.

The KCD-200 will be powered by hydrogen fuel-cell technology and is expected to be capable of transporting stores of up to 200 kg. It is understood that LIG Nex1 has developed hydrogen fuel cell-powered UAVs in the past, however, the application of such propulsion technology on a UAV of this class is a first for the company.

In May 2021 LIG Nex1 was selected by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy to develop a hydrogen fuel cell-powered cargo-carrying UAV with a lift capacity of 200 kg. It should also offer tele-operation and autonomous modes.

The effort is being pursued in collaboration with Gwangju city and other public and private organisations. Development is expected to be completed by 2025 with the aim of operationalising it as a military logistics UAV for the army, navy, air force, and marine corps.

In addition, LIG Nex1 has also embarked on a programme to develop a multirotor UAV with a lift capacity of 40 kg under a civil-military technology project led by the Civil-Military Cooperation Promotion Agency of the Agency for Defense Development since November 2020.

The unnamed UAV will be equipped with a hybrid energy propulsion system designed to support more than 60 minutes of operation.

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