The South Korean defence industry have demonstrated the country’s growing mastery of multirotor unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by highlighting a range of mature developments at DX Korea 2022, which is being held in Goyang city from 21-25 September.
The Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) fielded its new UMAC hexacopter Aim Rifle Drone, which are armed with a SNT Motiv K2 5.56 mm assault rifle mounted on a stabilised two-axis gimbal that minimises firing recoil for improved shot accuracy. The weapon is coupled to an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor suite with image tracking and optical magnification capabilities that also enable the operator to identify and target distant threats.
According to company specifications, the Aim Rifle Drone has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 43 kg inclusive of a 9.25 kg payload. The air vehicle’s electric propulsors are powered by three how swappable 16,000 mAh lithium polymer batteries which enable it to attain an operating altitude of 150 m and an endurance of up to 20 minutes.
Control radius from its portable ground control system (GCS) is quoted as 500 m, with the radio datalink between the UAV and GCS protected by the indigenously developed Korea Cryptographic Module Validation Program (KCMVP).
The Aim Rifle Drone is one of three new types of small multirotor UAVs that was contracted by the South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) in December 2020 for delivery to the RoKA from 2021, under a rapid acquisition project aimed at helping its troops to respond to fast-evolving future battlefield environments.
Meanwhile, South Korean defence electronics and missile specialist LIG Nex1 is offering increased firepower for multirotor battlefield UAVs with its Micro Smart Munition. The company did not disclose specifics about the weapon, but AMR sources suggest that the very compact weapon has a diameter of just 40 mm and weighs just 2 kg. It is also equipped with a semi-active laser homing seeker, which enables it to engage lightly protected threats out to a range of up to 2 km.
The company exhibited a multirotor UAV equipped with an EO/IR turret and laser designator and four Smart Micro Munitions, with one being launched and receiving guidance information via the air vehicle’s laser designator. However, a spokesperson told AMR that the weapon is platform agnostic and can easily be integrated to any type of UAV platform with sufficient payload capacity.
by Jr Ng