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ADEX 2023: Firstec loitering UAV with RoKA for trials

Firstec said it plans to improve its canister-launched loitering UAV for increased speed and range by 2025. The version shown in this image is the initial reconnaissance UAV. A later variant will be a loitering munition. (Janes)

A new loitering unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by South Korea's Firstec Co Ltd has been undergoing field trials with the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).

A company representative told Janes during the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2023 on 20 October that 10 UAVs were given to the RoKA in September for field testing. ADEX is being held from 17 to 22 October.

“The testing is ongoing. The initial variant of this loitering UAV is designed for reconnaissance and is being tested by the army for that purpose,” the company representative said.

According to information provided by the company, the UAV, which has the tentative designation of Canister-launched loitering UAV, has a maximum speed of 80 km/h and a range of 10 km. “Development of this UAV was started in February 2022,” the company representative said.

The loitering UAV is intended to operate at the battalion-level or smaller units, according to information provided by the company.

Firstec has plans to further evolve the UAV into a loitering munition by adding a 1.2 kg warhead to the nose, according to the company representative. In addition, the company intends to increase the speed of the UAV to 120 km/h and range to 20 km by 2025.

According to a 1:1 scale model of the system displayed at ADEX 2023, the 5.5 kg loitering UAV is launched from a CO2-operated canister weighing 7 kg.

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