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Ucon wins rights to KARI Durami UAV

South Korean unmanned air vehicle manufacturer Ucon Systems has negotiated marketing rights for the Korean Aerospace Research Institute's (KARI) Durumi long- endurance UAV, and is to offer the design commercially under the designation Remo Eye 015.

Ucon has also unveiled a short-range tactical UAV, designated the Remo Eye 006. The electrically powered air vehicle has been developed in response to a looming South Korean army requirement for a small tactical UAV to support platoon and company level units. Ucon says the design has been heavily influenced by the Aerovironment Pointer tactical UAV, which is regularly deployed by the US Army in South Korea.

The Remo Eye 006 air vehicle has a maximum take-off weight of 6kg (14.3lb) and an endurance of 1.5h on one lithium polymer battery. Space and weight provisions have been included in the design to enable the inclusion of a second battery, with which the UAV's endurance is extended to more than 2.5h. Ucon is working on integration of lightweight electro-optic and infrared payloads into the UAV in parallel to efforts to reduce overall air vehicle weight to 5kg, allowing more space for sensors.

The hand-launched UAV is a joint development between the company, Sungwoo Engineering, and a South Korean university. Sungwoo designed and manufactures South Korea's MST mid-scale and SST sub-small scale target drones.

Ucon Systems was set up in 2000 by a group of former KARI engineers who had been involved in the development of the ground control system for South Korea's unmanned airship programme.

The Durumi air vehicle has been under development by KARI since 1999, closely based on the Saab Aerosonde company's Aerosonde UAV and sharing a similar type of car-roof mounted catapult launcher.

The institute's licensing agreement with Ucon will see KARI continue to undertake technical development of the UAV. A new flight campaign over the next three months will be used to validate air vehicle endurance, expected to be more than 24h and range, estimated at 2,000km (1,080nm).

Ucon plans to offer the Remo Eye 015 as an extended loiter surveillance system for military and civil agencies.

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