Singapore Technologies Aerospace (ST Aero) is on the verge of flying a previously-unannounced unmanned air vehicle (UAV) demonstrator, the MAV-1.

The black, tricycle-undercarriage UAV can be seen outside the front doors of the Singapore Technologies hall. Two further mock-ups are suspended from the ceiling inside the hall and bear some subtle differences as a result of ground testing of the prototype, including a serrated-edge dorsal engine air intake reminiscent of those on the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit.

Tan Jiak Kwang, ST Aero's chief engineer, says that the MAV-1 is a purely company-funded programme. He declines to say how much it has cost to date, but says the company has been working on the demonstrator for around two years.

It was not developed in response to a Singaporean armed forces' requirement, he says, but as a means of demonstrating the company's capabilities. The airframe is constructed entirely from composites and the powerplant, which he declines to name, produces "around 100lb" (0.45kN) of thrust. Speed is "low subsonic" and the vehicle can operate up to medium altitude.

Payload on the prototype is up to 20kg and can include a variety of cameras and other sensors.

Flight-testing is due to start shortly after Asian Aerospace and encompasses a flying programme of between three to six months. Whether the design is developed further will depend on whether interest is shown by the Singaporean armed forces or other overseas services.

Source: Flight Daily News