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ADEX 2023: KAL-ASD develops new Strix-like UAV

KAL-ASD's new KUS-VX unmanned aerial vehicle is a testbed for vertical take-off and landing operations. (Janes/Akhil Kadidal)

Korean Air Aerospace Division (KAL-ASD) has developed a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as a testbed for new VTOL applications.

The company unveiled the flying prototype of the UAV (which it calls the KUS-VX) during the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2023 held from 17 to 22 October.

The new UAV has a close resemblance to BAE Systems Australia's Strix unmanned aircraft system (UAS). A KAL-ASD official told Janes that development of the KUS-VX began a few months ago to test the concept of VTOL operations and associated flight mechanics.

This was supported by footage of the KUS-VX aired by the company at ADEX 2023. The real-life video imagery showed the UAV conducting level flight in South Korea and subsequently conducting a vertical landing on a grassy field.

“There is no official request by the South Korean government for such technology,” the KAL-ASD official said. “However, we will be proceeding with development of the platform for larger capabilities, including combat applications.

“The concept model displayed at ADEX 2023 was used for initial flight-testing. However, it is only a scale model of the final platform planned,” the KAL-ASD official added.

According to information released by KAL-ASD, the full-scale KUS-VX will have a length of 4.3 m, a wingspan of 3.3 m, and a maximum take-off weight of 700 kg. KAL-ASD intends for the KUS-VX to be capable of carrying two Hellfire missiles, in addition to an electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) payload – for a total payload capacity of 130 kg. According to Janes

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