torsdag 22. oktober 2015

Drone - South Korea shows its unmanned Little Bird - UAS Vision

Korean Air Displays Armed Unmanned Little Bird

Little Bird armed
Korean Air Aerospace Division (KAL-ASD) has developed an armed and unmanned version of the MD 500 Little Bird light attack and observation helicopter that it showcased for the first time at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition (ADEX) 2015.
Speaking to IHS Jane’s at the event on 20 October, the manager of Korean Air’s Research and Development Center at Daejon, Won Jin Kim, said the Korean Air Unmanned System – Vertical Helicopter (KUS-VH), as the platform is designated, is currently a one-of-a-kind demonstrator aircraft that the company has built for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) to potentially field once development is complete.
“We have one prototype aircraft at the moment,” he said. “The customer is currently undefined, but we are expecting a request for proposals from the [Korean] army in late 2016/early 2017. We will sell the helicopter to the Korean military if they want it.”
The RoKA is thought to have 175 manned MD 500 helicopters still in service (130 MD 500s in the observation role and 45 BGM-71 TOW missile-equipped Defender platforms in the light attack role) that were licence-built for it in the 1970s by KAL-ASD. As the licence builder for the type, KAL-ASD has the proprietary knowledge and skill sets necessary to convert these ageing helicopters into unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Presently, the company has removed all of the manned systems from the prototype and is in the process of installing the unmanned systems. The aircraft displayed at ADEX was fitted with mock-up sensor and weapon systems. According to Kim, the helicopter should be ready to make its maiden unmanned flight sometime in 2016.
As noted by Kim, KAL-ASD’s unmanned Little Bird is different from the H-6U Unmanned Little Bird (ULB) developed in the United States by Boeing. “The Boeing helicopter is optionally manned, whereas we wanted to take the concept a step further and have it completely unmanned.

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