13 Jan 16. Korean Air to Mass Produce UAVs. Korean Air Lines Co. has announced that it has signed a deal with the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) at the end of December last year to mass produce a new UAV for military reconnaissance missions.
The budget for the deal with DAPA, which will be carried out for five years from this year to 2020, totals 400bn won ($333.47m), and Korean Air will receive 230bn won (US$191.75m) for three years through 2018 in its initial phase. The private airliner developed the drone for military purposes for four years until Nov. 2014, and it proved the eligibility for reconnaissance missions at the operational test and received an airworthiness certification for the first time in South Korea last year.
The KUS-FT is 4.2 meters (14.7 feet) wide and 3.4 meters long and can make an automatic landing on unpaved fields at night or in fog. It is also able to nosedive into mountainous areas and touch down within 30 meters of a targeted spot.
Its landing gear can alternate between wheels and skids, and it can release a parachute in an emergency situation to prevent damage and facilitate its retrieval. Accordingly, the drone has high military operational capability and credibility. Nearly 95 percent of the aircraft’s components are made by South Korean suppliers.
With the success in domestic production of the military drone, the company has been seeking to tap into the markets in Central Asia and South America.
Having foreseen the potential of the UAV market from the late 1990s, Korean Air has concentrated its research capabilities in the sector, and solidified its position as the nation’s No. 1 developer of UAVs after building machines like medium-altitude aircraft, unmanned tilt-rotor aircraft, 500MD UAVs, and the currently developing reconnaissance drone. (Source: UAS VISION/Business Korea)
13 Jan 16. German Armed Forces Will Lease Israeli Drones. The German armed forces plan to lease advanced Israeli UAVs, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday. In a statement, she pointed out that the inspector general of the Bundeswehr has decided to rent the drone Heron TP, manufactured by the Israeli company IAI, to protect German soldiers in deployments overseas. The German Army already uses the smaller predecessor drone Heron 1 for years in Afghanistan with good results.
According to the minister, the leasing contract is intended to bridge the period until 2025 when a new European combat drone will enter service. Last year, Germany, France, Italy and Spain agreed to build such an UAV. In this project Germany wants to take the lead role.
The lease of three to five Heron TPs will cost roughly €600m (US $650m), with the deployment’s start scheduled for 2018, government sources disclosed. The contract is to be concluded by the end of this year. Apparently, the UAVs are to be stationed initially in Israel for training purposes, but a relocation to an air base in northern Germany is planned in the long run. However, in case of problems with the registration, a deployment in Israel seems to be possible.
Heron TP is considered a MALE drone (Medium Altitude, Long Endurance) for reconnaissance tasks and can be armed when needed, which is not possible for Heron 1. The partner for the Bundeswehr is primarily Airbus Defence and Space, the company operates and maintains the aircraft. With the Israeli manufacturer IAI, Airbus has completed a so-called teaming agreement without establishing a new company.
According to sources in the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament, a major reason for the Heron TP’s selection was Israelis’ willingness to give Germany a deep insight into the drone’s technology. “All the technical information we might need, was promised to us”, said a well-informed person linked to the Social Democrats of the Bundestag. According to the source, the Israelis also assured that the know-how could be used for the development of a European drone. IAI sees the Bunde