Korea Air Technology Center (KATC) develops hybrid-power unmanned aerial vehicle for the South Korean Military.
According to the statement by the Korea Air Technology Center (KATC), it contracted to supply an undisclosed number of the hybrid-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) prototypes to the government’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) for tests to be completed by the South Korean military.
The prototypes will be assessed under the Vertical Take-off and Landing Coastguard UAV (Rotary Wing) category of DAPA’s Rapid Demonstration Acquisition Program. Korea Air Technology Center (KATC) has been developing hybrid-powered UAV with internal research and development funding since 2016.
The platform is equipped with a hybrid propulsion system that combines an internal combustion engine with electric motors. It is claimed that the system can offer an extended flight endurance of up to 2 hours compared to full-electric UAVs in the same weight class. The on-board battery also functions as a secondary power source should the engine fail, increasing the survivability of the UAV.
The air vehicle’s maximum flight altitude and speed were increased to 500m and 72km/s. It is designed for operation in temperature conditions of between -20°C and -45°C. The hybrid UAV can carry an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor package that enables it to capture high-resolution imagery and transmit the data in the real-time.