Milkor Integrated Systems (MIS) – Milkor’s subsidiary responsible for the development and production of unmanned programmes – has expanded its capacity by moving into a new state-of-the-art facility in Cape Town.
Responsible for communications, controls, autonomy, and system integration, MIS has overseen the complete product development, manufacturing, delivery, and support of Milkor’s autonomous platform solutions, the company told defenceWeb.
The rapid progress of the Milkor 380 UAV development programme, which includes the building and integration of several units, necessitates the expanded facility. Enclosing 10 000 square meters, the facility encompasses all previous R&D functions and now includes expanded offices, dedicated production, testing, integration, and training infrastructure. This allows MIS to accommodate several programmes simultaneously, scaling up production as needed.
Milkor’s flagship UAV is the Milkor 380, which is being offered in a weaponised configuration and unmanned (Surveillance) versions. The 18 metre wingspan aircraft can be fitted with six guided weapons and various payloads to perform multiple operations.
“The new factory opened in Cape Town will increase the production capability for UAVs and provide a facility to conduct training and operational support. With engagements from end users proving firm and positive, this facility is vital in meeting that demand and delivering world class service,” said Ghaazim Rylands, CEO of Milkor Integrated Systems.
According to Rylands, the expansion comes amid increasing global demand for unmanned solutions to meet the challenges around border security, poaching, illegal fishing activities and piracy, particularly in both the Indian and Atlantic oceans. He said the solutions MIS provides can equip countries with the right equipment to predict, detect and combat these issues. With a key focus on providing a complete solution that includes theoretical training and operational support, Milkor can provide countries with a multi-functional solution.
As a result, MIS has specifically developed all critical aspects of the Milkor unmanned programmes entirely in house – amongst others but notably including communications, avionics, automation & control, mission pre-sets, and navigation systems.
Cape Town is ideally suited to access and procure materials required for manufacturing while being in close proximity to air bases to conduct flight testing and demonstrations.
“Whilst building good systems, we are also ensuring the establishment of a strong and reliable organisation that ensures the continued support of our clients. Everything from the composites to the automation, control and payload integration is done in-house. This advancement in development allows for unrestricted control over the UAV systems and includes the upgrade of avionics and communication of existing systems,” said Rylands.
Milkor Integrated Systems was launched in mid-2019 with the focus of merging all their unmanned capabilities and programmes. It aims to be a supplier of choice to countries that require solutions from independent self-reliant suppliers, especially countries with emerging industries that struggle to access technology, products, and solutions.
The opening of the MIS Cape Town facility aligns with the expansion plan set by Milkor’s leadership as it celebrates its 40th anniversary. In the last decade, Milkor has been growing rapidly, moving from solely producing grenade launchers to developing unmanned aerial vehicles, armoured vehicles, and patrol boats, amongst others.