ST Aerospace is showing off a proof of concept unmanned air vehicle that can both fly and swim.

The company’s Unmanned Hybrid Vehicle (UHV) has been tested in the water, but has yet to conduct its first flight.

“Not many countries are comfortable with a 25kg [55lb] experimental aircraft in their airspace,” says Milly Tay, senior vice-president at ST Aero’s engineering and development centre.

She is confident, however, over the UHV's capabilities given ST Aero’s extensive experience with both manned and unmanned aircraft.

A UAV that can fly to its target area has a great speed advantage over one that can only travel in water, she points out.

Tay says the UHV has a range of 4.3nm (8km) and will be deployable from a ship or land. It is designed to land in the water, submerge, and swim. Military applications include mine detection and gauging depths.

Such a system would be of great utility in Southeast Asia’s littoral environment, which is characterised by shallow seas, narrow waterways, and reefs.

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