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ADEX 2023: KAI details progress on Advanced Air Vehicle

A 1:4 scale prototype of the AAV by KAI is displayed at ADEX 2023. (Janes/Amit Kalra)

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) showcased a prototype of its Advanced Air Vehicle (AAV), which is under development, at the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2023 held from 17 to 22 October.

Speaking to Janes, Cha Hongjung, senior manager of the KAI AAV project, said the company is progressing the vehicle's development on a digital model named C103, a local designation given to the present iteration of the AAV prototype. Apart from the civil application of the AAV, the concept of operations in defence environment includes cargo; troop deployment; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); maritime patrol; and medevac, Cha added.

Cha said the C103 will have structural design changes and an updated propulsion system compared with the earlier C101 prototype. C101 is the first-generation prototype, which was utilised to mature the Flight Control System (FCS) for the AAV. Compared with the four electric tiltable rotors on the C101, the C103 will have six tiltable rotors. The C103 prototype would measure 15 m in length.

The airframe of the AAV will be constructed using 90% composite material. The maximum take-off weight of the AAV is being planned below 3,000 kg, keeping Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) 27 in consideration for an airworthiness certification, Cha said. Present prototypes feature fixed tricycle landing gear arrangement, but Cha said KAI is studying the feasibility of equipping the AAV with a crashworthy landing gear system.

The C101 commenced flight tests in August 2023, and flight operations for the C103 are planned in the first half of 2024, Cha said.

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