Milkor has officially launched its unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) at the 2021 edition of IDEX in the United Arab Emirates.
The company said the aircraft was launched by Minister of State for Defence Affairs Mohammad Ahmad Al Bowardi. Milkor displayed the aircraft at IDEX with six guided weapons on the wings. Milkor worked with the UAE’s HALCON to display its Desert Sting guided munitions at the show.
The Desert Sting unpowered munitions series features an inertial navigation system and GNSS for navigation with an optional semi-active laser seeker. The Sting series has a range of 16 km but offers different warhead sizes, with the munitions weighing between 10 and 50 kg. In November 2019 Halcon was awarded a $1 billion contract to supply Desert Sting 16 weapons to the UAE armed forces.
According to Milkor, the UCAV is a medium altitude long endurance UAV with 30 000 foot altitude and 35+ hours endurance. It has an 18.6 metre wingspan and can carry out line of sight operations up to a range of 350 km and beyond line of sight operations to a range in excess of 1 000 km with a satellite link.
Maximum takeoff weight is 1 300 kg and payload 210 kg. Top speed is 250 km/h and cruise speed 110-150 km/h. It has five hardpoints for various payloads and can carry SAR/ISAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar/Inverted Synthetic Aperture Radar), Communications Intelligence (COMINT), AIS (Automatic Identification System), communications relay, communications jammer and other systems including ‘swarm pods’.
The UCAV is designed and developed by Milkor UAE, the company said. The United Arab Emirates office was officially launched at IDEX 2021. “Our local presence will give us the ability to interact on a vast array of partnership opportunities, collaborations and joint developments with a more dynamic and timely approach. We’ve had to concentrate on many different aspects of our business model but most importantly our timing had to be perfect, we’ve been strategizing for months with late nights and a lot of coffee to make this happen,” Julian Coetzee, CEO of Milkor UAE, said in mid-2020.
Milkor said it was going to showcase products entirely owned by Milkor UAE at IDEX 2021, including its largest aircraft. “The products that we are launching are going to turn heads at IDEX 2021. We are already engaged with local end users for demonstration purposes and we are planning to conduct these demonstrations later this year,” Coetzee told the Nation Shield at the beginning of February. “We will also be showcasing improvements on existing products from South Africa, including our MN Centurion High Speed Interceptor which will participate in a live demonstration at NAVDEX 2021.”
“We have been looking into developing different platforms and engaging with end users across the globe on collaborative efforts, specifically mentioning the LATAM and Middle Eastern region taking serious interest in our Naval capabilities. As a response to multiple countries showing interest, we decided one of the best ways to showcase this capability is to bring the boat to NAVDEX, so that is what we did,” he told the publication.
In addition to the Milkor UAE UCAV, the company also offers a Surveillance version and the smaller MA80 and MA380 UAVs. It also developed the MA18 fixed-wing hand-launched portable UAV.