Denel’s unmanned aerial vehicle system, the Seeker 400, has successfully completed the second round of flights tests as part of its development process.
The tests, conducted at the Alkantpan range in the Northern Cape, included an evaluation of the system for range and performance with the full payload on board.
“This was the first series of flights of the Seeker 400 with the full payload,” says Tsepo Monaheng, the CEO of Denel Dynamics. “We are delighted about the performance of the Seeker 400 and confident that we will be able to start with production for clients within the next few months.”
Monaheng says the development of Seeker 400, which has a cruising speed of 150km/h and can carry a payload of 100kg, confirms Denel’s global leadership position in the design and manufacturing of unmanned aerial vehicle systems (UAVs).
The Seeker 400 has the ability to simultaneously carry and control two different payloads such as synthetic aperture radar and an electro-optical turret using a completely new digital data link system. These payloads can easily be installed in the field, allowing the Seeker 400 to be tailored for different tactical situations.
The Seeker 400 can be used for a wide range of military and civilian missions, including maritime surveillance and disaster response. It can stay in the air for up to 16 hours at altitudes of up to 6 000 metres. At typical operating altitudes of between 1 500 and 3 000 metres it is almost invisible to the naked eye and is effectively inaudible at altitudes higher than 1 000 metres above the ground.
Monaheng says the Seeker 400 is a highlight in South Africa’s development of a local UAV, which started in the mid-1980s. Its forerunner, the Seeker 2, has been successfully deployed by Denel’s international customers in five countries overseas. The Seeker 2 will be further upgraded by Denel Dynamics, rebranded as the Seeker 200, and offered to clients who want a smaller air vehicle or do not require the greater endurance and dual payload capability offered by the latest Seeker 400 version.