By Peter La Franchi in Farnborough

Turkey's Tusas Aerospace Industries (TAI) plans to fly its indigenously developed Tiha medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned air vehicle within the next two years.

Releasing new details of the programme at last month's Farnborough air show, the company said concept and design work conducted since late 2004 is now nearing transition to the detailed design and test stage. Plans are also being developed to establish a laboratory to conduct air vehicle hardware and mission systems integration, it says.

Three prototype air vehicles will be built under the programme, along with single ground control and mobile imagery exploitation stations, two ground data terminals and two remote viewing terminals.

The UAV will have a 10m (33ft) all-composite fuselage, detachable low-mounted wing with a span of 17.3m and a detachable V-tail with a span of 4.5m.

Maximum take-off weight is forecast at 1,500kg (3,300lb), including provision for a 200kg payload and 250kg of fuel.

Initial payload elements will comprise a daylight camera, thermal imager, laser designator, and synthetic-aperture radar with ground moving-target identification capability. Weaponisation will be studied as the programme advances, says TAI.

The Tiha will have a pusher propeller configuration and a cruise speed of around 75kt (140km/h), service ceiling of 30,000ft and 24h endurance.

Source: Flight International