Milkor’s 18.6 metre wingspan Milkor 380 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is the largest such aircraft to be developed in Africa and will enter production next year. As part of an agreement with the Department of Defence, the first aircraft produced will be used exclusively by South Africa.
The Milkor 380 will soon make its maiden flight, with production of the first five aircraft set to take place next year. The aircraft was first unveiled in 2018, and more recently took pride of place at the most recent Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition, where it was displayed with Al Tariq X-series precision guided munitions, Halcon Desert Sting DS-16 guided bombs, FZ602 laser-guided rocket launchers, and Airborne Technologies’ Self Contained Aerial Reconnaissance (SCAR) Pod.
“Following a successful presentation of the Milkor 380 at the African Aerospace and Defence Exhibition in September of this year, international recognition on the Milkor 380 and its capabilities has been garnered from countries across eastern Europe and Asia,” Milkor said. “During AAD, Milkor signed an MOU with the Department of Defence, Armscor and the South African Air Force illustrating their continued commitment to supply these systems and will manufacture five units during 2023 dedicated for South African use.”
With the company’s 10 000 square metre manufacturing facility in Cape Town, Milkor will further build on local defence capabilities and continue to avail the Milkor 380 to the South African government, the company added, as it is “fully committed to building the capabilities required by various branches in the South African government by making the Milkor 380 available for use in South Africa.”
“Developing such a sophisticated platform in South Africa is a significant achievement for the defence industry,” said Daniel du Plessis, Business Development Manager at Milkor. “Milkor has created an opportunity for the South African defence, security and intelligence sectors to source key equipment locally, eliminating the need to seek them elsewhere. It enables the South African government to reduce its reliance on foreign procurement and allows them to collaborate closely with local companies that can help build stronger defence and security capabilities, especially in the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) sector.”
Milkor said the Milkor 380 Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV is the largest UAV to be manufactured in South Africa and on the African continent. It has an endurance of up to 35 hours of flight time and a payload capacity of 210 kg. “These features make the Milkor 380 ideal for integrating various sensors and performing surveillance operations and intelligence gathering missions across the South African border and within the military intelligence realm,” Milkor said, with UAVs able to combat issues like maritime crime, poaching, terrorism etc.