Friday, September 21, 2018
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New UAV orders for Denel Dynamics

A Seeker 400 UAV.Denel Dynamics has received another order for its Seeker 400 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) after completing deliveries to the South African National Defence Force. It has also received a small contract for Seeker 200 platforms from a Middle Eastern country.

The Middle Eastern contract, worth R182 million, was announced at the Dubai air show in November 2017, but it was not at the time specified which models had been ordered. According to Sello Ntsihlele, head of business development at Denel Dynamics, the order was for a small number of Seeker 200s to replenish an existing fleet.

Denel Dynamics has received another order for its larger Seeker 400 UAV, from a customer who cannot yet be disclosed. Ntsihlele told defenceWeb the contract was “substantial”.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was the launch customer for the Seeker 400, and took delivery of its first aircraft in late 2015. Ntsihlele said Denel Dynamics was in the process of handing the system over to the SANDF and this would probably conclude by year-end. The company was awarded an interim military type certificate for the Seeker 400 system and additional efforts are underway towards a full military type certification.

Internationally, Ntsihlele said there is huge interest in the Seeker 400, especially the armed version, which can be fitted with lightweight Impi and Impi-S missiles or the unpowered GPS-guided P2. The 14 kg P2 was delivered for a client in the Middle East and has been qualified on the Seeker 200.

The Seeker 400 is somewhat unusual in that it can carry two sensor payloads (weighing a combined 100 kg) at the same time, such as an optronic sensor turret like the Argos II and a synthetic aperture radar or electronic intelligence package. In this configuration it is known as the Enhanced Seeker 400 and will be shown in this configuration at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition at AFB Waterkloof from September 19 to 23. Up until now the Seeker 400 has been fitted with a single sensor payload.

The Seeker 400 can be used for a wide range of military and civilian missions, including maritime surveillance and disaster reconnaissance. It has up to 16 hours endurance at altitudes up to 18 000 feet. At typical operating altitudes of between 4 500 and 9 000 feet, it is not visible from the ground by the human eye and is effectively inaudible. The UAV's line-of-sight range is 250 km from its ground station, but this can be doubled by using a forward ground station with deployed forces.

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