Safomar showcases innovative Narma UAV for civil and military applications

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Safomar Technologies has demonstrated the Narma AF200 vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) fixed wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to potential civil and military users in South Africa, who could use it for everything from blood transport to surveillance.

The AF200 is an electric dual tilt-rotor aircraft that operates as a multicopter when hovering and a fixed wing UAV when cruising. Maximum flight time is 25 minutes when hovering with a 3 kg payload, or 45 minutes when cruising in level flight with a 3 kg payload. Maximum altitude is 3 000 metres.

Thanks to stabilisation technology, the aircraft can withstand a 12 m/s average wind, 17 m/s gusts, and temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius – the AF200 is claimed to be able to withstand greater crosswinds than ordinary VTOL UAVs. Maximum payload is 5 kg; empty weight is 11 kg or 17 kg with batteries.

The 1.8 metre wide AF200 features an automatically deployable parachute for emergencies, LTE communications and built-in surveillance camera.

It is manufactured by South Korean company NARMA (New AeRoMission Accomplishment), which claimed to launch the world’s first electric tilt-rotor VTOL UAV in 2019. NARMA also manufactures the smaller AF100 tilt-rotor UAV, with a 1.1 kg payload, and several multi-copter UAVs.

The AF200 was launched in South Africa in 2022 and demonstrated at the September 2022 Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition. This year the company aims to expand with sales in Kenya, South Africa and elsewhere.

Locally, Safomar Technologies is offering the UAV for sale, and to further promote the aircraft held a demonstration at the RPAS Training Academy Field outside Centurion on 16 February in collaboration with sister company TAU Aerospace and Advanced Technologies. This attracted delegations from the South African National Defence Force, SA defence industry, and civil sector, including South African National Blood Service representatives, who are looking to use UAVs for blood transport under the Bloodwing programme.

Marius Cronje, Technical Sales and Project Manager at Safomar Technologies, said the AF200 is a good candidate for the South African National Blood Service, especially as it can drop a payload in flight.

He told defenceWeb that there is a big move towards parcel delivery in South Africa, and this could really take off if the Civil Aviation Authority approves air transport corridors for UAVs.

Safomar Technologies is a subsidiary company within the Safomar Holdings Group, and specialises in the delivery of ITAR free intelligence, security, and defence solutions in the air-, land- and maritime domain for both state-owned and private sectors.