Seoul has approved plans to start production of Korean Air’s indigenously-developed Medium-Altitude Unmanned Air Vehicle (MUAV).
The country’s Defense Project Promotion Committee recently cleared production of the MUAV, according to the South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
Korean Air confirms that development of the MUAV – also designated KUS-FS – was completed in 2022, and that production will begin in 2024. Korean Air’s KAL-ASD unit has extensive MRO and aerospace capabilities.
DAPA envisages the MUAV providing a continuous intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability on targets deep within North Korea. Moreover, local production will support the country’s domestic aerospace sector.
According to KAL-ASD, the KUS-FS system will include 2-4 UAVs and a ground control system. The KUS-FS is powered by a 1,200hp engine and KAL-ASD does not provide details such as maximum take-off weight or endurance.
Korean Air has several activities in the UAV space.
In October 2022, it and Airbus Helicopters entered a memorandum of agreement to develop UAVs with a vertical take-off and landing capability for South Korea’s military, specifically shipborne UAVs for the country’s navy.
Two months earlier, in August 2022, South Korea’s Agency for Defense Development named Korean Air as the “preferred bidder” in a programme to develop a low observable UAV that will work with manned aircraft in combat.
The work envisages the development of “stealth UAV squadrons”.