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Korean Air signs agreement to develop stealth UAVs

A stealthy, tailless UAV demonstrator developed by Korean Air that was unveiled by ADD in August 2020. On 22 December, Korean Air announced that it has signed an agreement with KRTI to continue developing technologies for low-visibility UAVs. (Korean AIr)

Korean Air announced on 22 December that it has signed an agreement with Korea Research Institute for Defense Technology Planning and Advancement (KRIT) to research low-observable technologies for the next generation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The company said in a statement that the agreement, which will run through 2025, will focus on researching airframe structure technologies that can help reduce a UAV's radar cross section (RCS), making it less detectable by enemy radars.

The agreement follows a contract awarded by KRIT to Korean Air in mid-September to support the government-funded ‘low-probability-of-intercept UAV technology research' project, and which will see the company testing the new ‘stealth' technologies thus developed for application to the next generation of UAVs.

Korean Air said that, as part of this project, it has also formed a consortium with six domestic institutes and universities, including KETI (Korea Electronics Technology Institute) and Inha University, to develop radar-absorbent structures and surface current control technologies.

The company noted in its statement that from 2010 to August 2021 it had already developed and tested a stealthy, tailless UAV prototype, known as the Kaori-X, under a project led by South Korea's Agency for Defense Development (ADD). The company added that, during the project, it managed to reduce the UAV's radar cross-section (RCS) by using unspecified “multifunctional composite materials” and applying radar-absorbent aircraft structures.

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