Warplanes: German KZO UAV Goes to War


February 8, 2006: Germany is the latest country to send it's UAVs off to war. Ten KZO UAVs are being sent to Afghanistan with the next contingent of German troops. KZO development began, in 1989, as a joint venture between French and German firms, to design and build a new UAV. The French bailed in 1995, but the Germans continued, and the German army ordered eight KZO platoons (each with ten UAVsm two ground stations and support gear) in 1998. The first platoon was not delivered until November, 2005. Deliveries on this order will not be complete until 2007. But to see what the KZO can do in a combat zone, it is being sent off to a combat zone.

The KZO is similar to the U.S. Army Shadow UAV. The KZO weighs 355 pounds, is 7.5 feet long and has an 11.2 foot wingspan. It has a 77 pound payload, can send video and pictures up to 150 kilometers and has an endurance of six hours. Normal speed is 150 kilometers an hour. The KZO takes off from a truck, with the aid of a small rocket. It lands via parachute, and some protective airbags.

This first field experience for the KZO will be important, because the manufacturer is hoping to export the system, and already has set up manufacturing in the U.S. for American sales.


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