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DX Korea 2022: KAI launches UAM concept for Korean army

KAI's UAM for military applications (pictured above) at the DX Korea 2022 show in Goyang. (Jon Grevatt/Janes)

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has showcased a scale model of a new unmanned urban air mobility (UAM) aircraft for military applications, at the DX Korea 2022 exhibition held in Goyang.

The company told Janes that it plans to develop the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) platform during the 2020s and by 2029 present a prototype to the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA). A KAI official said the RoKA has a potential future requirement for more than 100 UAMs.

Its main role will be transport and logistics, but the platform could also be adapted for operations including command-and-control, air assault, and medical evacuation. The rear of the aircraft contains the loading area supported with what KAI said would be a standard cargo pallet system.

While the RoKA has identified a requirement for the system, KAI said other branches of the military are also expected to require a similar capability.

A KAI official said the biggest challenge in developing the platform is the endurance and range. He said the RoKA has outlined a requirement for such a platform that has a range of at least 250 km.

KAI said the concept UAM has a maximum take-off weight of 2,500 kg and can carry a payload of 600 kg. Its has a length of 9.5 m, a height of 3.8 m, and a wingspan of 13.1 m.

The UAM is being developed from a similar manned version of the aircraft for commercial applications. KAI plans to develop a prototype of this commercial platform by the mid-2020s.

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