Milkor will be displaying its three new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at the Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition this month, including a hand-launched UAV.
Nelis Strydom, Head of Business Development: Africa at Milkor, told defenceWeb that all three of the company’s UAVs, developed over the last two years, are flying and ready for production. The three models are the hand-launched MA18; the 12 metre wingspan MA380 and the smaller MA80. All have been developed in-house by Milkor Aerospace. The MA80 has accumulated the most flight hours, with a lot of flying being done in the last few months. Strydom said there has been a lot of interest in the UAVs.
The UAVs can be configured to meet customer requirements, and fitted with a variety of sensors – weapons are a possibility as well (the MA380 can be fitted with hardpoints that can carry offensive payloads). Payload options include electro-optical/infrared sensors including Epsilon and Hensoldt Argos optronics, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and communications/signals/electronic intelligence payloads.
Both the Milkor MA80 and MA380 are T-tail designs. The MA380 has fully retractable landing gear for maximum performance and efficiency. The MA380 is the larger of the two, with a designed range of 2 000 km (with satellite link) and endurance of 20 hours at a cruise altitude of 14 000 feet. It has a wingspan of 12 metres and maximum takeoff weight of 380 kg (hence its designation) with a payload of 80 kg. Maximum and cruise speeds will be 220 and 150 km/h respectively.
The MA 80 is the smaller version, with a range of 250 km (limited by line of sight) and endurance of approximately 24 hours. Cruise altitude will be a bit lower, at 10 000 feet. Wingspan is six metres, and maximum takeoff weight 80 kg with a 15 kg payload. Cruise speed is 120 km/h.
The MA18 is a fixed wing hand-launched UAV that can be folded up and put in a backpack. It can be flown via an iPad or similar interface. The larger UAVs are flown by a ground control station that can control up to six aircraft at once, and fly the aircraft autonomously or manually.
Strydom emphasises that its UAVs are completely ITAR free, which makes them attractive to a large number of markets. The aircraft can be customised to meet different requirements, and can be fitted with a wide array of sensors, payload options and engines – these can be either piston engines or turboprops.
Apart from the aircraft, Milkor also offers complete training and support packages. The training package can produce fully certified UAV pilots while the support package includes spare parts, maintenance and technician training.
Milkor’s UAVs will be on display at its stand at AAD next week.
Photos: Top: Milkor MA380. Bottom: Milkor MA80.