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Korean Air wins contract to develop low-visibility technologies for UAVs

A stealthy, tailless UAV demonstrator developed by KAL that made its first test flight in the mid-2010s. On 30 September Korean Air announced that it has been awarded a contract to continue developing technologies for low-visibility UAVs. (Korean Air)

Korean Air (KAL) announced on 30 September that it has been selected to support the local development of low-visibility unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The contract, awarded on 16 September by the Korea Research Institute for Defense Technology Planning and Advancement (KRIT) as part of the “low-visibility UAV technology research” project, involves the development of radar-absorbent structures and surface current control technology that will then be tested and applied to the next generation of UAVs.

Work under this contract is scheduled to be completed by 2025. No contract value had been disclosed by KAL at the time of publication.

KAL noted in its statement that from 2010 to August 2021 it had already developed and tested a stealthy, tailless UAV prototype under a project led by South Korea's Agency for Defense Development (ADD). Janes understands this refers to the Kaori-X UAV demonstrator that was unveiled by the ADD in August 2020 and has been used to validate technologies related to low observability, aerodynamic control and stability, as well as propulsion.

The company confirmed that it achieved the first test flight of a low-observable tailless UAV sub-scale demonstrator within the first five years of the project. It then focused between 2013 and 2016 on reducing the UAV's radar cross-section (RCS) by using unspecified “multifunctional composite materials”. Since then KAL has continued researching key technology for radar-absorbent aircraft structures for UAV applications.

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