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South Korea showcases stealth UCAV

A South Korean military KIA Light Tactical Vehicle carries a stealth unmanned aerial vehicle during the 75th Armed Forces Day on 26 September. (Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images)

The South Korean military revealed a stealthy, tailless unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) during the country's 75th Armed Forces Day parade on 26 September.

Janes assessed that the unmanned aircraft were Kaori-Xs (Stingray-Xs), a downscaled stealth UCAV demonstrator. The Kaori-X programme aims to provide the South Korean military with a stealth UCAV capability. The military displayed five suchUCAVs during the parade.

Development of the Kaori-X began in 2010 under a project led by South Korea's Agency for Defense Development (ADD). Korean Air (KAL) is a systems integrator for the programme. The ADD first unveiled the demonstrator in August 2020.

The model displayed during the army parade appears to be an updated version of the Kaori-X. The aircraft has a swept-back constant chord wing planform ending in triangular wingtips. This wing feature is associated with the scaled-up Kaori-X technology demonstrator. The UCAVs also had a large very/ultra-high-frequency(V/UHF) communications antenna in the dorsal position.

However, the Koari-X aircraft displayed at the parade differs from earlier imagery of the Kaori-X. Notable differences include tweaking of the fuselage to enhance the type's cranked fuselage design. A chevron-shaped exhaust nozzle to support enhanced stealth has replaced the round exhaust visible on a Kaori-X unveiled by the ADD in 2020.

During the parade, the aircraft were mounted on KiaLight Tactical Vehicles (KLTVs). However, they were shown to have fully retractable tricycle landing gear, indicating that they are capable of flight operations. Janes

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