(photo credit: IAI)
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is teaming up with South Korean manufacturer Hankuk Carbon to develop and produce a vertical takeoff and landing drone that will be used by the South Korean Armed Forces.
IAI and Hankuk Carbon could also reach an agreement to jointly develop shipborne take-off and landing capabilities for another platform they have developed, the FE-Panther vertical takeoff and landing UAV, which they are already manufacturing.
The existing 67-kg. Panther is a tactical drone made up of composite materials and sub-systems supplied by Hankuk Carbon and powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid propulsion system.
Hankuk Carbon and IAI said they have been marketing the Panther to “South Korean governmental entities.”
“Hankuk Carbon has been speculating the aerospace industries for long period. Considering the aerospace industry has around 5 percent growth annually and the LNG industry is in downturn, we believe this is the optimal timing to enter the aerospace industry,” the company’s CEO, Moonsoo Cho, said on Monday.
Shaul Shahar, executive vice-president of IAI, said: “The joint venture has the potential to become a leading VTOL (vertical take off and landing) UAV company.”
Hankuk Carbon displayed the FE-Panther for the first time in October 2015.
It can fly for eight hours, with 6 kg. of payload, reaching a flight radius of 130 km. and a maximum speed of 100 kph.
Funding for Hankuk Carbon and IAI joint research and development has come from the KORIL Foundation (the Korea-Israel Industrial R&D Foundation).