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Improved Panther UAV ready for South Korean contest

An enhanced version of the Panther vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned air vehicle that is being offered to South Korea has undergone testing, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) confirms.

Changes have been made to the design's fuselage, wings and propulsion system. The updates were made after a flight test conducted at the Gyeryongdae emergency landing strip in South Chungcheong province late last year – an activity that concluded with the Panther sustaining slight damage on landing.

Avi Blesser, vice-president of IAI's military aircraft group, confirms that the main changes made to the UAV have been completed and tested. The company and its South Korean partner Hankuk Carbon have adapted the design in the hope of winning a competition to equip the nation's armed forces with an unmanned VTOL asset.

Industry sources say that the current tension between Seoul and North Korea has increased the urgency to acquire and operate such a system.

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