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Defense & Security 2023: Norinco to supply Sky Saker FX80 UAV to Thai army

Thailand has signed a contract with Norinco to become the first international customer of the Chinese company's Sky Saker FX80 UAV, a scale model of which was displayed at the Defense & Security 2023 exhibition in Bangkok. (Janes/Jon Grevatt)

China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) has signed a contract with the Royal Thai Army (RTA) to supply its fixed-wing/vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) Sky Saker FX80 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the company has confirmed.

A Norinco official told Janes on 7 November at the Defense & Security 2023 exhibition in Bangkok that the contract was signed in October and features the delivery of one FX80 system comprising four UAVs and a ground control station. Deliveries to the RTA are expected in 2024, the official added.

The value of the deal was not disclosed, but Janes understands it is worth about THB188 million (USD5.3 million).

In marketing material, Norinco said the FX80 has been designed in two configurations – electric and gasoline-electric hybrid power – but the type ordered by the RTA has not been disclosed. The Chinese company said the UAV is designed for long-range reconnaissance and laser designation and targeting for artillery units.

According to Norinco, the FX80 has a length of 2.9 m, a width of 5.9 m, and a height of 0.58 m. The UAV has an operating radius of 100 km, a maximum take-off weight of 68 kg, and a top speed of 110 km/h. The endurance of the electric system is 3 hours, and 8 hours for the hybrid version. The maximum altitude of the hybrid FX80 is 4 km. The electric version can operate at 5 km.

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